The US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) has awarded a contract to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) to upgrade a prototype cryofracture munitions destruction system.
Under the deal, the company will also be committed for additional designing and procurement in order to interface the portable system with a rotary kiln incinerator.
With the completion of its integration and testing, the prototype cryofracture system will be delivered to the Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) in Crane, Indiana, to carry out future installation and prove-out with live material.
GA-EMS president Scott Forney said: “We are extremely pleased to be awarded this contract to continue the cryofracture project at the army’s Crane facility.
“The upgrades to the system will significantly increase their ability and capacity to safely and cost-efficiently destroy munition stockpiles on-site.”
The cryofracture system helps avoid the use of hazardous open-pit munitions destruction and offers a safe munition size reduction process.
The process involves the use of liquid nitrogen to cool munition bodies to below the embrittlement temperature, following which the munition bodies are fractured in a hydraulic press.
Fracturing in the hydraulic press debilitates the shaped charge, exposes the energetics and renders the munition bodies safe for thermal destruction without concern for high-order detonation inside the incineration system.
The process enables a wide range of munitions to be processed and increases thermal incinerator throughput to help army installations destroy more munitions using existing incinerator equipment.
GA-EMS is currently designing, acquiring and integrating equipment to upgrade the US army’s prototype cryofracture system.
Final testing will be carried out using inert munitions with the prototype before the contract is scheduled to be completed at the end of next year.