Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant technicians have developed a device that would allow problematic 105mm munitions to be safely destroyed through current automated processes.
“We were looking at several options, but one idea, called the Burster Rotating Adaptor Device, or BRAD, has been installed and has successfully reversed 12 rejects as of March 1,” said Kim Jackson, plant manager, PCAPP.
Munitions are typically dismantled by an automated robotic system called the Projectile/Mortar Disassembly system. Chemical munitions are disassembled to remove their energetic components, and later drained of the mustard agent contained inside.
However, some munitions are problematic because of a stuck burster, which is one of the energetic components contained inside each projectile. These munitions had previously been set aside for later processing in the PCAPP Static Detonation Chamber units.
The BRAD allows for an additional twisting motion to loosen stuck bursters, and, if successful, would let munitions previously deemed problematic continue their destruction process in the main plant.
“The BRAD was created in a collaboration between members of the maintenance, engineering and training teams,” said David Matula, cognizant systems engineer, PCAPP. “This technology was previously used at the former Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Oregon and the former Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Utah, but wasn’t compatible with our systems. Our machinists were able to adapt this technology and customize it to work at PCAPP.”
“We’re still doing testing,” Matula said, “but it looks like it’s working well and could be safely utilized for every munition, whether the burster is stuck or not.”