Know more about the FSST trial conducted by US Navy in Atlantic Ocean

By: |
June 24, 2021 3:37 PM

This is the newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the US Navy undergoing trials and was able to withstand a huge explosion in the Atlantic Ocean.

FSST testDuring the test, an underwater explosive charge is set off near an operational ship. (Photo Source: Twitter/ USS Gerald R Ford)

Last week the US Navy successfully conducted a ‘full ship shock trial’ (FSST) on the USS Gerald R Ford. This is the newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the US Navy undergoing trials and was able to withstand a huge explosion in the Atlantic Ocean.

The shock trials are expected to provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship.

Why was the test conducted?

It was to ensure the capability of the USS Gerald R Ford to withstand battle conditions.

The test included the detonation of around 18 tonnes of explosives a few meters near the ship. And, approximately 160 km off the coastal state of Florida, the mega blast triggered an earthquake of 3.9 magnitude at sea.

And the news of this test was based on the videos of the test released by the US military which stated that the “The US Navy conducts shock trials of new ship designs using live explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under harsh conditions they might encounter in battle.”

What is a Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST)?

After almost 34 long years a test of this scale has been carried out. A similar test was carried out in 1987 on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The test conducted for the Ford is one of the three blasts scheduled.

Referring to the environmental concerns such a test could generate, the official statement stated, “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.”

More about the USS Gerald Ford

Commissioned in 2017 by the former US President Donald Trump, it is the lead ship of the Gerald R Ford class.

Named after a former US President, the advanced warship, is 333m long, 77m high. It has two nuclear reactors, four shafts and a displacement of 1, 00,000 tonnes full load. Once the FSST tests are completed later in the summer, prior to its operational employment the new US warship will then enter a Planned Incremental Availability for six months of modernization, maintenance, and repairs.

More about FSST Test

During the test, an underwater explosive charge is set off near an operational ship. And system and component failures are all documented which would help in making changes to the systems. This documentation has to be made as per a 2007 document on the subject by the JASON group of elite US scientists.

These tests are carried out usually on the ships that are first of the new class to be built.

The tests of this kind are supposed to check:

Whether the components survive shock in their environment on the ship;

The possibilities of system failures;

Large components that could not be tested.

USS Ford has been designed using advanced computer modeling methods. The testing and analysis are being done which will help in ensuring the ship is hardened and will be able to withstand battle conditions

Why such tests?

According to reports during World War II, the American warships had suffered major damage from enemy mines and torpedoes that had actually missed their target. They ended up exploding underwater. And since then the US Navy in an effort to minimise damage from such “near miss” explosions, has been working to improve the shock proofing of their ship systems

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