The U.S. Navy has asked Defense Secretary James Mattis to delay the shock testing of the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier for at least six years in order to advance the deployment of a fleet of 11 carriers, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
The Defense Department’s testing office warned that the Ford carrier should first undergo resilience test prior to fielding the ship for initial combat duty, which is expected in 2022.
Robert Behler, DoD’s new testing chief, said in an interview, the aircraft carrier has four new systems designed for aircraft landing and launching, aircraft and missile detection and ordnance movement.
“I think we have to know if those systems continue to work in a combat environment,” he added.
The service wants its second aircraft carrier – USS John F. Kennedy – that is set for delivery by September 2024 to undergo the shock trial instead of the Ford ship, the report added.
Navy Commander Patrick Evans, a spokesman for DoD, said Mattis, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, will directly respond to the military branch once he decides on the matter.