The US Navy has been ordered to carry out shock tests on its first Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN 78), a move that will delay the vessel’s scheduled deployment.
The navy had earlier proposed to postpone the test as it will delay the first deployment of USS Gerald R Ford. The vessel was scheduled to enter service next year.
According to a US Navy spokeswoman, deputy defence secretary Robert Work has directed the department to complete the test before the $12.9bn warship’s deployment.
Bloomberg cited a letter from acquisition undersecretary Frank Kendall to navy secretary Ray Mabus that read as: "(The test) will be conducted to ensure the survivability of the CVN 78 design is understood prior to beginning operational deployments."
The shock tests will evaluate the survivability of a vessel’s systems or equipments under extreme conditions.
However, this test is not always performed on the first ship to enter service, DefenseNews reported.
The US Navy was reportedly scheduled to conduct the test after the arrival of the second Ford-class warship, USS John F Kennedy (CVN 79). This vessel is scheduled to enter service in 2020.
The navy justified its proposal to delay the test by saying that the first vessel’s components are now being fully tested.
Designed with significant quality-of-life improvements and reduced maintenance, the Ford-class ships are expected to enhance operational availability and capability.
The 100,000t Ford-class ships will be capable of operating up to 90 aircraft, which include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, MH-60R / S helicopters, and unmanned air vehicles and unmanned combat air vehicles.
Image: The US Navy’s first Gerald R Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Gerald R Ford. Photo: courtesy of Chris Oxley / Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.