With the destruction of the last VX nerve agent rocket motors from the Blue Grass plant on April 12, the Anniston Field Office in Alabama helped take another step in the safe elimination of the nation’s last chemical weapons components.
“Each time we complete destroying a certain munition component, it brings us one step closer to total stockpile destruction,” said Tim Garrett, director of field operations, Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. “I’m proud of what the Alabama team is doing to contribute and make that a reality.”
Technicians at the Anniston Army Depot used their Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) to destroy more than 17,000 non-contaminated rocket motors trucked there from the Blue Grass plant in Kentucky during the VX rocket destruction campaign. The first motors were sent to Alabama on Nov. 1, 2021, and destruction began after all environmental permitting was complete.
Blue Grass workers destroyed the last M55 rocket containing VX nerve agent on April 19, 2022. Later this year, workers will start destroying the containerized, drained VX rocket warheads in the SDC 1200 at the Blue Grass plant. Although they are classified as secondary waste, destruction of the drained warheads and rocket motors is verified for compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The Blue Grass plant team began destroying chemical weapons in June 2019. As of April 14, almost 84% of the original 523.4 tons of chemical agent stored in Kentucky has been destroyed. The project is on track to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile located at the Blue Grass Army Depot by the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty commitment of Sept. 30, 2023.