Development of Blast-Barge Technology for Underwater Munitions Demolition
Mr. Timothy Shelton | U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center - Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory
The objective of this project is to demonstrate an effective, practical, safe, economical, and relatively efficient approach for removing discovered ordnance from the marine environment and disposing of it by blow in place (BIP) on a mobile barge specially outfitted for this purpose. This approach for disposing of underwater ordnance (UXO) does not require BIP either underwater or on nearby shores or land areas and has minimal impact on the marine environment. The Department of Defense (DoD) has vast acres of both inland and marine waters that are potentially contaminated with ordnance littering the underwater environment.
This UXO demolition solution for discovered underwater ordnance has the potential to completely eliminate damage to the underwater environment due to blast effects. Additionally, the technology increases personnel safety as well as reduces public exposure by disposing of the munitions using a blast box specially configured to absorb blast effects that can be transported on an ordinary barge to a variety of locations. The project will demonstrate the ability of the system to absorb the energy from the demolition of the ordnance without damage to the marine environment or the components of the system. A successful demonstration will result in minimal load on the marine environment and no or minimal damage to the blast box or host barge.
The DoD will benefit from this technology as it will enable safe and efficient removal of potentially tens of thousands of pounds of UXO currently undiscovered underwater. The prospect of a simple blast box that can be outfitted on an ordinary barge and be transported to any navigable waterway for use in demolition of ordnance has indefinite long-term cost benefits, many of which cannot be measured in fiscal terms. Increased safety for personnel, portability, and reduced or eliminated damage to the marine environment could potentially save significant costs for DoD in unspent remediation. Additionally, the blast box infrastructure is potentially reusable for repeated demolitions providing significant return on investment. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2018)