Water blasts into the air from an explosion alongside USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78). Photo: US Navy
A bombing incident around the new aircraft carrier, the first in its class, the USS Gerald Ford, triggered an earthquake warning from the US Geological Survey as the eruptions were recorded as an East Coast Florida earthquake. But this was not an act of war: it was the first scheduled explosive event planned as part of the “Full Ship Shock Experiments,” or FSST for short.
The Navy conducts a trial shock test in accordance with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction 9072.2, and as required by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016. According to the US Navy, Ford shock trials are being conducted off the eastern coast of the United States, within a tight schedule consistent with environmental mitigation requirements , while respecting the known migration patterns of marine life in the test area. The Navy also used extensive protocols throughout the FSST to ensure the safety of military and civilian personnel involved in the development of the test.
The purpose of the FSST is to ensure that the ship is properly hardened to withstand battle conditions. As this is the first aircraft carrier of its kind, naval experts will analyze the data captured in and around the ship from these explosions to ensure that the ship is capable of handling potential battle conditions with real enemy forces at sea.
According to the USGS, the eruption, which was centered approximately 105 miles east of Ponce Inlet on Florida’s central east coast, was captured by the network of seismographs. The ‘trial explosion’ was recorded as an earthquake of magnitude 3.9, which is an important seismic event for this region. While earthquakes continue around Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the area of the eruption is not known to have any seismic activity.
The US Navy says that once the FSST concludes later this summer, USS Gerald Ford will enter a six-month Planned Additional Availability (PIA) plan of modernization, maintenance and repairs prior to its operational operation.
As the FSST continues in the coming weeks, East Coast residents should be aware of possible additional earthquake alerts from the USGS, but know that they are likely from these intentionally detonated bombs rather than a natural seismic event.
Have you ever wondered what the 40,000-pound explosives from the bridge wing of a USNavy aircraft carrier would look like?
Watch footage from the first explosive #USSGeraldRFord event of the Full Ship Shock trials and find out! 🤯 #ThisIsFordClass #WeAreNavalAviation #Warship78 pic.twitter.com/2kbeEkF0g1
– USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) (@Warship_78) June 20, 2021
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