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The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford completes the first scheduled explosive event of Full Ship Shock Trials while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, June 18, 2021.
The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford completes the first scheduled explosive event of Full Ship Shock Trials while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, June 18, 2021. (Riley McDowell/U.S. Navy)

ORLANDO (Tribune News Service) — There’s wasn’t an earthquake off Florida’s east coast on Friday, but the United States Geological Survey measured something that hit 3.9 on the Richter scale. Turns out it was the Navy setting off explosions next to its new aircraft carrier.

The USS Gerald R. Ford was parked about 100 miles east-northeast from Ponce Inlet when the boom from a 40,000 pound explosive shook the cameras filming the event, the first of several planned Full Ship Shock Trials took place.

It’s a new aircraft carrier that’s going through the final steps needed before the Navy can sign off on it to be deployed.

“The first-in-class aircraft carrier was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing, and analysis to ensure the ship is hardened to withstand battle conditions, and these shock trials provide data used in validating the shock hardness of the ship,” reads a release from the Navy about the trials.

The Navy has not performed a test like this on an aircraft carrier since 1987. It has performed them on other smaller ships — but not since 2016.

“Ford’s shock trials are being conducted off the East Coast of the United States, within a narrow schedule that complies with environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area,” reads the Navy statement.

The Navy did not say how many more trials it will perform, but just that they will be off the U.S. East Coast and end later this summer.

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