The U.S. Navy has recently shared a video its Independence variant littoral combat ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) undergoing full ship shock trials (FSST) with 10,000 pounds of explosive charge detonated close to the ship.
While initially released images provided a glimpse into what the test looked like, the video now allows us to see how various sections of the ship reacted to an explosion which caused the U.S. Geological Survey to measure the blast as a magnitude-3.7 earthquake. Seismic reports initially caused confusion ashore as many were unaware of the tests the Navy was conducting.
The final shock trial took place on July 16 off the coast of Florida and was a full success according to the Navy.
The FSST is done for every new ship with the aim of validating operational survivability of new construction ships after exposure to underwater shock. USS Jackson was the first aluminium trimaran in the world to undergo such an analysis and test, Austal, the shipbuilder in charge of constructing the Independence variant LCS, noted.
As the Navy explained, the ship performed exceptionally well, sustaining minimal damage and returned to port under her own power. The Navy also collected a large amount of data on the majority of shipboard systems which it will compile and analyze over the next several months.
Austal however reported that preliminary results from the first two physical shock trials determined that the shipbuilder would have to define a revised baseline design for a shock rated vessel built to US Naval Vessel Rules. Costs associated with the modification would be shared with the U.S. Navy on a 50:50 basis up to a ceiling price per the LCS contract structure.
USS Milwaukee, a Freedom variant of the littoral combat ships, is also expected to undergo shock trials which, according to a contract awarded to Lockheed Martin, should be completed by December 2016. Several media outlets reported on September 11 that seismic activity off Florida on September 4 was the result of U.S. Navy testing but the U.S. Navy is yet to confirm Milwaukee’s shock trials.