Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pentagon Directs Shock Tests on Carrier Ford

Pentagon Directs Shock Tests on Carrier Ford: The Pentagon rejected a US Navy plan to carry out shock and survivability tests on the second ship of its new aircraft carrier design, and instead directed the service to test the first ship — even though doing so may delay the ship's first deployment by at least half a year.

In an Aug. 7 memo to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition official, ordered the "full ship shock trial" (FSST) to be carried out on the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), first of a new class of carriers and expected to enter service in 2016.

The ship is in the final stages of construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

The Navy had wanted to wait until the second ship, the John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), was available, but that carrier isn't expected to enter service until late 2022 or 2023. Among other issues, the Navy argued that the time taken to perform the tests on the Gerald R. Ford would delay the ship's first deployment.

Virtually all new ship designs undergo shock testing, where real explosives are set off close to the ship, which is then examined to see how well it withstood the stresses. The tests, however, are not always performed on the first ship to enter service.