The U.S. Navy reported Wednesday that the USS Jackson, the Navy's third Independence class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), has completed its first shock trial.
The Navy conducts near-miss explosives testing on new classes of surface combatants, typically in mid-production. Critics say that the tests can add to procurement costs due to vessel damage and repairs, but the Navy says that they can be an important learning tool.
Former director of the LCS program Rear Adm. Brian Antonio told USNI News that damage was expected. "Some things are going to break," he said.
The first test was at the furthest range from the aluminum-hulled Jackson; the next two blasts – planned for later this month – will be at increasingly closer range.
"The shock trials are designed to demonstrate the ship's ability to withstand the effects of nearby underwater explosion and retain required capability," the Navy said in a brief statement, adding that the test was successful; the service did not give details of the blast's effects on the Jackson.
After each test the vessel will return to port at Naval Station Mayport, Florida for an evaluation.
The Freedom-class LCS USS Milwaukee will be subjected to shock trials later this summer. The Milwaukee, the third in her class, made news in December when she suffered damage to her combining gears and lost propulsion, 20 days after commissioning. She has since been repaired, and the Navy says that the issue does not affect her sister ships.
Previous U.S. Navy shock trials: