Color-coded munition lots reduce delays and keep Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant chemical weapon destruction rates steady.
“Other demilitarization plants have sorted their projectiles into color-coded lots based on their likelihood of containing projectiles with a higher probability of leaking chemical agent,” said Brian Ramdwar, deputy plant manager, PCAPP. “This reduces the risk of downtime due to a leaker.”
All chemical weapons from the Colorado stockpile are sorted into four color-coded lots to limit interruptions to destruction operations due to problematic munitions. Those categorized as green lots pose little to no chance of leaks, yellow and orange lots pose moderate risk and red lots have the highest likelihood of risk. By staggering the destruction of munitions that may present challenges, the process can be better managed to reduce or anticipate problems.
Most chemical weapons are destroyed without incident, some are overpacked due to leaks or sampling while being safely stored or are simply unsuitable for automated destruction due to their age or condition. Plant managers know these rounds are more likely to leak minute amounts of chemical agent.
Miniature Continuous Air Monitoring Systems detect mustard agent vapors that may escape during the energetic removal process. Projectiles are sealed and isolated if vapor from leakers are detected.
Lessons learned from 105mm projectile destruction by the U.S. Army’s Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System were assessed in categorizing munitions lots, said Mariel King, production control analyst, PCAPP.
Since 105mm projectile destruction began in December 2020, more than 300,000 have been destroyed. As of Feb. 23, only 151 have been classified as rejects, accounting for 0.05% of the 105mm projectiles.