The US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington’s (CVN 73) engineering, weapons and air departments have successfully conducted the testing of critical firefighting systems.

Crew members onboard carried out tests on the carrier’s fire suppression systems (countermeasure wash-down systems), which form a significant part of damage control efforts aboard the vessel.

Maintained by George Washington’s damage control division, the countermeasure wash-down system uses seawater and aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) to prevent fire by extinguishing flame’s oxygen supply.

George Washington damage control assistant lieutenant commander Morgan Ames said: "The tests ensure that we have fire and chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) fighting capabilities.

"In the event of a major catastrophe, we know that we’ll be able to combat the casualty."

AFFF also helps to dry the vessel’s exterior when there is a possibility of contamination. For the countermeasure wash-down, the AFFF system needs more than 200 preventative maintenance checks.

As part of the test a concentration of 6% AFFF and 94% water was sprayed throughout the ship’s hangar bays and outer skin. The hangar bay wash-down used around 2,000 gallons of AFFF.

"The tests ensure that we have fire and chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) fighting capabilities."

Damage controlman, Norfolk, Virginia first-class Walter Dailey said: "Testing is performed throughout the hangar bay, flight deck, island and fantail.

"These are the areas where a CBR attack or serious fire are likely to occur."

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is currently carrying out sea trials to evaluate and assess the vessel’s equipment status and personnel readiness for follow-on at-sea training.

It is also aimed to provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the US and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Image: US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS George Washington (CVN 73). Photo: courtesy of mass communication specialist, second-class Clifford L H Davis.