February 27, 2018

We Must Shock-Test the USS Gerald R. Ford

By Jerry Hendrix

Earlier this month the U.S. Navy submitted a request to Secretary of Defense Mattis to postpone the planned shock testing of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the new Ford-class super carrier, until the second carrier of its class, the USS John F. Kennedy, goes through its post-launch tests some six years from now. A shock test involves setting off a series of underwater explosive charges of sufficient size, detonating them closer and closer to the ship to shake the ship enough to determine weak points or other issues in the ship’s design. The test is done with a full crew onboard and is intended not to damage the ship but to judge its adaptability to combat conditions.

The Navy’s argument is that the Navy’s need to increase the number of deployable super carriers to eleven (we now have ten) in order to take strain off of the overall fleet exceeds its need to analyze the robustness and resilience of the Ford’s design. In other words, getting the Ford on deployment quickly is more important to the Navy than shock-testing it.

Read the full article in National Review.