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New Aircraft Carrier Tested With Massive Explosions

Navy set off blasts that registered 3.9 on the Richter scale
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2021 2:41 PM CDT

(Newser) – Floridians wondering what that big boom was, the one that felt like an earthquake, got answers Sunday. The US Navy set off a 40,000 pound explosive, creating an explosion that measured 3.9 on the Richter scale, the Orlando Sentinel reports. And not as an early Fourth of July firework—the Navy is testing its new aircraft carrier. The USS Gerald Ford is going through Full Ship Shock trials, which means it’s getting some pretty exciting tests to see how well it can take a bomb going off near it. The Ford is the Navy’s most advanced carrier, but also one that has had problems since construction started in 2009, UPI reports, plagued by cost overruns and inoperable weapons elevators.

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These are the first shock trials of an aircraft carrier since 1987, Business Insider reports. The Navy is hoping to learn how the ship will react to high-pressure waves—the kind of environment that can happen when a bomb almost hits the ship. The Navy is trying to stress the ship and not the ocean it’s floating in, “respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area," according to a statement. When the shock trials are complete, the Ford will go back to Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia for “modernization, maintenance, and repairs,” the Navy says. (Read more Navy stories.)

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