The system used to containerize and package drained rocket warheads at the Blue Grass plant is installed and tested. It was turned over to the operations team May 19.
“The release to operations is the final step of a four-step process for the Rocket Handling System,” said Thomas Bankes, systems startup lead, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We started with the design and build of the system, moved to the installation of the line components, followed that with the commissioning and integration of the equipment, and now the operations team is preparing for the operation of the system.”
Rocket line operators have been practicing proficiency training on the system for several weeks to prepare for chemical agent destruction operations, Bankes said. The practice is done using simulated warheads and rockets designed and built for that purpose. Along with the proficiency training, system dry runs began earlier in May.
“The dry runs are focused on software integration, where the plant’s hardware and control systems are tested to ensure that the systems work together,” Bankes said. “This will allow for the safe and seamless throughput of simulated rockets on the line during this training period.”
The processing of M55 rockets at the Blue Grass plant is expected to begin this summer. The chemical agent from the rockets will be neutralized in the plant’s Agent Neutralization System and the drained, containerized and packaged rocket warheads will be moved into temporary storage on the Blue Grass Army Depot to await processing in one of the Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber units.