In June, the Navy began conducting Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) for the Independence variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS 6) off the coast of Florida. The purpose of FSST is to validate the operational survivability of new construction ships after exposure to underwater shock. Three tests were scheduled for the ship and each test was conducted with a 10,000-pound explosive charge.
On Saturday July 16, USS Jackson (LCS 6) was subjected to the third and final underwater explosion as part of her FSST. There were reports of increased seismic activity around the time of the test. The ship performed exceptionally well, sustaining minimal damage and returned to port under her own power. A large amount of data was collected during FSST on the majority of shipboard systems and the Navy will compile and analyze the data over the next several months.
Prior to any testing, the Navy ensures an exclusion zone is established around the test location. A Notice to Mariners (NOTAM) is released before each shot stating that hazardous conditions to surface vessels may be present and for vessels not involved in the test to remain clear. Similarly, the Navy takes the safety and security of marine mammals seriously, and all testing is executed to avoid the various migration patterns of marine life. Additional lookouts are posted to detect any marine mammal activity and test shots are not conducted if marine mammals are in proximity.
As part of the test program for the Littoral Combat Ship, the Navy is preparing to conduct FSST on a Freedom variant ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), later this summer off the coast of Florida.
The last FSST was conducted in 2008 for USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). It was also conducted off the coast of Florida.