Image: US Navy
The newest, largest, and most sophisticated aircraft carrier built in the history of the U.S. Navy underwent a massive shock test off the Florida coast. The USS Gerald R. Ford, delivered to the Navy in 2017 by defense contractor Northrop Grumman, will take its place as the leading vessel in the Atlantic fleet sometime in 2023. But before departing for its first deployment abroad, it will have to prove itself worthy of withstanding the most rigorous conditions facing a warship before it earns its place as the epitome of US naval power.
To that end, the Navy has started conducting a series of tests that will determine the strength of the ship's superstructure. Last Friday, the first test of what will be an 18-month, post-delivery trial period began with a massive 40,000-pound detonation set off near the carrier. The explosion, which caused U.S. Geological Survey seismometers to register a 3.9-magnitude earthquake, successfully validated the shock-hardness of the ship. Video of the blast conducted by the Navy shows a huge burst of water expanding radially as the shock wave rattles the carrier (see video below).