What's the most efficient way to test how a ship can handle combat? According to the U.S. Navy, it’s detonating a 20-ton explosive charge in the ship’s vicinity.
The “experimental explosion” took place in the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles off the coast of Florida. The subject in question was the USS Gerald R. Ford. Dubbed “The Ford,” it's the Navy’s most expensive warship and serves as the first in a new class of advanced aircraft carriers.
The Ford features an electromagnetic launch system, advanced arresting gear and advanced weapons elevators.
The Navy stated, “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.”
According to Business Insider, common naval mines can weigh around 1 ton. The Navy used its much larger explosive further away from the carrier, although it did not disclose how far from the ship it was when detonated.
The test was designed to discover if the shock from a nearby ordnance detonation would incapacitate the ship by knocking critical systems offline. This includes radars and self-defense systems. The ship’s sensitive systems were mounted on coils in order to combat blast waves without breaking.
For reference, this explosive was almost twice as large as what is described as the “Mother of All Bombs,” which is more specifically titled the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast. This weapon is the most powerful non-nuclear explosive in the U.S. arsenal.
The blast provided enough of a jolt to record a 3.9 on the Richter scale.