The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, or PEO ACWA, is responsible for the safe and environmentally sound destruction of the chemical munitions stockpiles stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, and the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD), Colorado. Critical to preparing the workforce that is 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.
ATE is used to train workers before they begin processing actual munitions through the plant. These simulated munitions look, weigh and handle like real chemical rounds; however, they do not contain explosives or chemical agent. These simulated munitions are handled with the same care as real munitions and make for safer working conditions. During the course of training, some ATE munitions are destroyed in the process, while others will be refurbished for repeated use.
All ATE munitions used at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) and the PCAPP Training Facility are painted a military-specified bronze color for training and testing purposes.
Some ATE munitions are filled with water for training purposes to simulate liquid mustard agent.
The ATE munitions came to PCD from a central storage facility located at Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele, Utah.
Side-by-side comparisons show the standard 155mm projectile (left) that were destroyed at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot and the mock, or inert, ATE version (right) used to train workers at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Training Facility. The bronze color specifies that the projectile is intended only for training or testing purposes. ATE munitions representing both the 105mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortar rounds stockpiled at the depot are also painted in bronze to distinguish them from the real munitions.