The Navy has been ordered by the Office of Secretary Defense to conduct shock tests on first-in-class carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) in a move that could delay the initial deployment of the ship.
A spokeswoman for the service confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday the Navy had received direction for shock tests for the Ford-class from OSD but didn’t provide additional details.
The direction from OSD came in an Aug. 7 memo from Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) Frank Kendall to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
The memo — first reported by Bloomberg News — directed the Navy to conduct the tests before Ford’s initial deployment and have the tests be fully funded as part of the service’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget submission and present a plan to OSD in December.
“The operational implications of any delay to CVN 78 entering the CVN deployment cycle caused by scheduling the [shock tests] prior to initial deployment are acknowledged and were considered, “read a portion of the memo cited in Defense News.
The service had planned to conduct the shock trails — which use live explosives to test the survivability of a ship’s system under extreme conditions — with second carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) to preserve the deployment schedule of the delayed Ford.
However, the ship is not scheduled to enter the fleet until the early 2020s.
Ford is nearing completion at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ yard in Newport News, Va. and is slated to deliver to the service in March of next year.