The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or PEO ACWA, is responsible for the safe and environmentally sound destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, and the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado. Critical to preparing the workforce destroying those munitions is the use of simulated munitions known as ACWA Test Equipment, or ATE.
ATE munitions are described as both dummy and inert. The term “dummy,” as part of ATE terminology, refers to equipment that resembles the shape of a munition component without moving or internal parts and can be either solid or hollow. The term “inert,” means the pieces contain no energetic or explosive materials and are used to simulate the actual munition.
ATE are used to test processing systems, assist in validating procedures and train workers before actual chemical agent munitions are processed. These simulated munitions look, weigh and handle like real chemical weapons; however, they do not contain explosives or chemical agent. These simulated munitions are handled with the same care as real munitions and will make for safer working conditions. During the course of training, some ATE munitions are destroyed in the process, while others are refurbished or recycled for repeated use.
ATE munitions used at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant are either empty, filled with water or filled with ethylene glycol for training and testing purposes. Blue Grass ATE are used for testing the equipment, processes and handling techniques of both the main plant and the Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber.