Recently administered a ‘full ship shock trial’ on the USS Gerald R Ford, its newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.by The United States Navy 

Key Points:

  • It was done by detonating around 18 tonnes of explosives a couple of metres near the ship, to make sure its hardness was capable of withstanding battle conditions.
  • The megablast triggered an earthquake of 3.9 magnitude stumped around 160 km off the coastal state of Florida within the Atlantic 
  • The United States Navy called the trial “successful”, because the Ford was ready to withstand the powerful explosion.
  • As per Defence News, this was the primary of three blasts to be administered to check the Ford.

What are the Rationale behind the test:

  • The U.S. Navy conducts shock trials of latest ship designs using live explosives to verify that their warships can still meet demanding mission requirements under harsh conditions they could encounter in battle.
  • The first-in-class carrier was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to make sure the ship is hardened to face up to battle conditions, and these shock trials provide data utilized in validating the shock hardness of the ship.

About Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST):

  • During world war II, American warships suffered severe damage from enemy mines and torpedoes that had actually missed their target, but exploded underwater in close proximity.
  • The United States Navy has since worked to enhance the shock proofing of their ship systems to minimise damage from such “near miss” explosions.
  • The first FSST administered on an aircraft carrier in 34 years, the last such test having taken place on USS theodore roosevelt (CVN 71) in 1987.


  • In FSSTs, an underwater charge is about off near an operational ship, and system and component failures are documented;
  • As per a 2007 document on the topic by the JASON group of elite US scientists.


  • Probes whether the components survive shock in their environment on the ship;  
  • It probes the chances of system failures, and enormous components that would not be otherwise tested.
  • Such trials are usually conducted on ships that are the first of a new class to be built – just like the Gerald R Ford.
  • The shock trials are being conducted within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area.

About Gerald R. Ford class:

  • The advanced warship, named after a former US President, is 333m long, 77m high and features a displacement of 1,00,000 tonnes full load while comprising two nuclear reactors and 4 shafts.
  • It is the lead ship of the Gerald R. Ford class, and was commissioned by former President Donald Trump in 2017.
  • Upon completion of FSST later 2021 summer, Ford will enter a Planned Incremental Availability for 6 months of modernization, maintenance, and repairs before its operational employment.
Gerald R Ford-class - US Navy CVN 21 programme


What are the Warship trials in India:

  1. Basin trials are conducted for:  
  2. Proving of the propulsion (move),  
  3. Transmission (electricity) and shafting systems.




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