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U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Riley B. McDowell

US - Meet the Team with an Unusual Task for the Newest Carrier’s Shock Trials

More than four years before the explosive went off beside the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford on June 18, a team of scientists began making plans for the ship’s shock trials. Their goal, however, was not battle readiness -- they were trying to protect marine wildlife.

More than four years before the explosive went off beside the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford on June 18, a team of scientists began making plans for the ship’s shock trials. Their goal, however, was not battle readiness -- they were trying to protect marine wildlife.

The process of planning the Ford’s shock trials began in 2016, according to Tom Douglas, the environmental impact director for the Navy’s shock trials.

“Planning for these are three to five years, if not a little bit longer,” he said.

“It takes quite a bit of effort.”

Shock trials have a long history in the Navy, going as far back as World War II when the service discovered that “near miss” explosions still had the potential to incapacitate a ship. As a result, the Navy conceived the test - which usually involves setting off explosives at various depths and distances from the ship - as a way to assess the impact of the shock and vibrations of a close blast on a ship’s equipment, a scientific report commissioned by the Navy explained.

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