"No one has been able to land a [big] punch on an American [aircraft] carrier for over half a century," StrategyPage notes. "There is no practical knowledge about exactly how sturdy, or not, these big ships are."So the Navy is going to sink the USS America, decommissioned since 1996, to find out what happens when the 1060-foot long carrier gets hit, hard.In $22 million worth of "experiments that will last from four to six weeks," the AP reports, "the Navy will batter the America with explosives, both underwater and above the surface, watching from afar and through monitoring devices placed on the vessel."
These explosions would presumably simulate attacks by torpedoes, cruise missiles and perhaps a small boat suicide attack like the one that damaged the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.At the end, explosive scuttling charges placed to flood the ship will be detonated, and the America will begin its descent to the sea floor, more than 6,000 feet below...Certain aspects of the tests are classified, and neither America's former crew nor the news media will be allowed to view them in person, Dolan said. The Navy does not want to give away too much information on how a carrier could be sunk, Pat Dolan, a spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command, said.Why the America? No other retired supercarriers were available on the East Coast when the test was planned, Dolan said. The others - the Forrestal and the Saratoga - were designated as potential museums, she said.