Low-Order, Underwater Detonation Study
NAVAL EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL TECHNOLOGY DIV INDIAN HEAD MD
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The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program funded the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division to carry out an underwater, low-order detonation study, Project 200104. The goal of the project was to develop for civilian UXO companies an alternative means to Blow-in-Place BIP procedures for submerged unexploded ordnance UXO that was unsafe to move. BIP has been a cause for concern because of the acute environmental damage caused by underwater detonations. The German-produced HL-21 shape charge was selected as a low-order tool because it was commercially available and had a water tightness specification down to 60m. Tests on TNT-filled 155mm projectiles and tritonal-filled Mk 82 bombs at the Aberdeen Test Center Briar Point Test Pond were conducted in June and July 2001. The results showed that low-order detonation procedures were very effective in reducing the blast effects while causing a complete disruption of the ordnance. Pressure histories were equated to equivalent yields in pounds of TNT. The data showed that low-order detonation could reduce yields up to 99 percent over conventional BIP procedures. Bulk explosive and fragmentation were recovered after each low-order trial. The issues of chemical contamination were outside the scope of this effort. Cost performance data is also presented that highlights the expense of using diver-operated tools. Additional testing is recommended to resolve issues with no reaction in tests on Mk 82 bombs, and to broaden the scope to RDX-based explosive fills.
- Underwater Ordnance