This month, the USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, successfully completed its shock trials. The third and final 40,000-pound explosive detonated near the Ford’s hull and caused no major injuries, flooding, or fires.

“We had zero catastrophic failures on the ship, zero situations where we had flooding or anything, and zero fires. All that is pretty significant,” Capt. Paul Lanzilotta, the Ford’s commanding officer, told reporters.

The shock trials are the latest milestone for a carrier that has struggled through years of delays and cost overruns — setbacks caused at least in part by the many brand-new systems the Navy chose to put on its newest class of carrier, the service’s top officer said in July.

In an interview at a Navy League event, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said the Navy had been too ambitious with the Ford’s new technologies.

“We had 23 new technologies on that ship, which quite frankly increased the risk … of delivery on time and cost right from the get-go.” Gilday said.

“We really shouldn’t introduce more than maybe one or two new technologies on any complex platform like that in order to make sure that we keep risk at a manageable level,” Gilday added.

New Technologies

Navy aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford sailor EMALS
A sailor lubricates an electromagnetic aircraft-launching-system catapult aboard the Ford on July 28, 2017. (Photo by MCS3 Joshua Murray/U.S. Navy)

The Force class is meant to modernize carrier operations for a new era, and the 23 new technologies aboard the Ford give it a number of improvements over its Nimitz-class predecessors, including faster aircraft sorties and a smaller crew.

The most well-known additions are the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) and Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG).