The Navy revealed last week the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) successfully finished its first scheduled event in the Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) on June 18.

The service noted the new carrier, the first in its class, was designed via advanced computer modeling methods, testing and analysis to make sure it is able to withstand battle conditions. “These shock trials provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship,” the Navy said in a statement.

According to the Navy, the shock trials are occurring off the east coast “within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also has employed extensive protocols throughout FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel participating in the testing evolution.”

The Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to help confirm the vessels can meet mission requirements under realistic harsh conditions in battle at sea.

These shock trials come after the ship completed the 18-month Post Delivery Test and Trials period in April. At the time, the Navy said the FSST would take four months this summer followed by an inaugural six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) in September 2021 for additional maintenance work, set to be finished by February 2022 (Defense Daily, May 5).

The PIA will be used for additional modernization work as well as any maintenance and repairs needed from these trials before its first operational employment.

Notably, the Ford is the first carrier to execute this kind of FSST since the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in 1987. 

Other ships the Navy has had conducted full ship shock trials in the past decades include the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) and Independence-variant USS Jackson (LCS-6) in 2016; the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mes Verde (LPD-19) in 2008, the amphibious assault ships USS Wasp (LHD-1) in 1991, and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG-53) in 1987. 

These shock trials are being conducted in accordance with instructions for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and have been mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.