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Army news service (April 26, 2005): new technology helps clear away unexploded ordnance.

FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- New technology now being used at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., promises to revolutionize unexploded ordnance removal and even generate revenue from recycling the material.

The Lightweight Ordnance and Armaments Demilitarization System, or LOADS, is a mobile machine designed to crush or cut inert ordnance and make it acceptable for salvage or recycling, said John J. Stine, director of Demilitarization Services Division, UXB International, Inc.--the company that designed LOADS.

LOADS is being used on Fort A.P. Hill to remove about two tons of inert ordnance--some dated from the 1940s--for a range upgrade project, said Gregory Quimby, project manager, AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc., the company responsible for the range design, construction, and its environmental remediation. The range is being converted from an anti-armor range to a multipurpose machine gun range. UXO clearance on the range was necessary for new construction, he added.

"We took the construction footprint for the range modifications and conducted a surface clearance," Quimby said. "If the UXO was live, we flagged it for detonation, which will be done with explosives; if it was nonhazardous UXO, we collected it and consolidated it in a central location for LOADS processing."


AMEC also used electromagnetic scanning and geophysical surveys to clear 10 acres of UXOs buried less than two feet in the ground, Quimby added. About 30 acres of surface land were cleared for the project.

Once the ordnance is processed through LOADS, it will be collected, smelted, and recycled, Stine said. Revenue generated from recycling is credited to the client's account, resulting in a cost-savings for the military, he added.

Traditional methods of UXO removal were burying or burning munitions on the range, Stine said.

"We knew there had to be a better way of removing UXOs from training areas," he added. "From blank paper to operation, it only took 18 months to build LOADS. We began testing it in late 2002 and started using it immediately after that. There have been four modifications on the system, expanding the types and sizes of munitions it can handle."

On the Fort A.P. Hill project, LOADS will cut or crush 40-mm grenades, 60-mm mortars, 81-mm mortars, 3.5-inch rockets, and other munitions remnants, Quimby said.

"This technology will enhance the way ranges are cleared in the future," he said. "Because it is mobile, we will be able to clear more ranges, more safely. Although the machine is not designed to process live ordnance--everything has to be inert--by passing it through the machine, you can be sure that it is rendered safe. If there is a live round, the machine can certainly absorb the impact better than the human body."

The LOADS system has revolutionized UXO clearance and eventually will replace the "bury or burn" method altogether, Stine said.

Bodine serves with Fort A.P. Hill Public Affairs. Fort A.P. Hill is a 76,000-acre installation specializing in training and maneuver, and live-fire operations.
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Title Annotation:In the News
Author:Bodine, Mary
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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