Technicians will use a purpose-built drilling device to access the cavity in 8-inch M426 projectiles to collect samples of GB agent to meet Blue Grass Laboratory needs.
“This drill is a smaller version of the device used for access of the Syrian chemical weapons destroyed on the Motor Vessel Cape Ray,” said Ed Parshley, supervisory chemical engineer, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC). “It will drill and tap the projectile, allowing the operators to extract the agent safely.”
The operation requires three personnel, and it will take about an hour to set up, drill and sample the projectile, Parshley said. The drilled and sealed munitions will be overpacked and delivered to a designated storage unit on the Blue Grass Army Depot, while the team will prepare the extracted agent for transport to an ECBC facility, where samples will be prepared for Blue Grass Laboratory analysis and use.
“The GB we have been using for testing and monitoring purposes is a high-purity agent and does not account for impurities that will be found in our aged projectiles, such as stabilizer chemicals and degradation byproducts,” said Eddie Whitworth, deputy site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “To optimize processes and accurately test our monitoring equipment, we will be extracting GB agent from two projectiles.”
The team performing the extraction will come from ECBC, which has years of experience in this kind of operation, Whitworth said. The operation will take place in a sealed glovebox inside an environmental enclosure in the Blue Grass Chemical Activity’s Chemical Limited Area.