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Munitions-Related Technology Demonstrations at Ordnance Reef (HI-06), Hawaii

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Development of methods and technologies to characterize sites with underwater military munitions (UWMM) and respond to UWMM where the risks posed to human health or the environment or explosive hazards are unacceptable is underway. Department of Defense Military Munitions Sea Disposal Site Hawaii (HI-06), referred to locally as Ordnance Reef, is off Oahu’s leeward coast. This site has become the focal point for research on UWMM. Past studies found that the site presents no immediate danger to public safety. The location and water depth at this site present advantages for UWMM research and development.

Promising technologies demonstrated at Ordnance Reef (HI-06) include those for munitions recovery, at-sea demilitarization, nondestructive testing, and explosives detection. Studies on fate and transport of munitions-related compounds and corrosion are ongoing.

Among these technologies are the Remotely Operated Underwater Munitions Recovery System (ROUMRS) and the Explosive Hazard Demilitarization System (EHDS). Both are assemblages of commercial off-the-shelf components, and each is housed in a standard 6-m International Organization for Standardization (ISO) shipping container and can be operated on a barge.

ROUMRS consists of a remotely operated vehicle, manipulators, an interface between a precision GPS, and underwater navigation equipment used during recovery of UWMM. The system also transports recovered UWMM for treatment. The EHDS consists of a portable X-ray unit to allow positive identification of recovered munitions, remotely operated wet band saws to cut recovered munitions to expose their explosive fill, and low-temperature ovens to treat the exposed explosives, making the remaining material safe for recycling.
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Keywords: ROV; demilitarization; explosive; munitions; treatment

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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