RAAF Explosive Ordnance Material Removal Project

Project Details

Project NameRAAF Explosive Ordnance Material Removal Project
Project LocationMultiple Royal Australian Air Force training ranges.  Northern Territory (two sites) and New South Wales (two sites)
End userDepartment of Defence
ClientDepartment of Defence
OPEC project managerMike Ransom
Year completed2020

Project Description

Defence training areas play an important role in the development of Defence capability. They are used extensively for weapon delivery training (including air to ground) and as such, generate large quantities of explosive ordnance material (EOM) that litters these training areas.  While the majority of the EOM does not pose an explosive threat, some of the items may have residual energetic material and therefore need to be disposed in a safe and controlled manner.  As a result of the vast quantities of EOM that are present throughout the training areas, Defence is committing to an ongoing program in which the primary objective will be for the management of EOM to better protect the safety of those units who use the training areas.  Four RAAF Air Weapons Ranges were identified and selected to be part of the pilot program for the undertaking of EOM Hazard Reduction Operations.

OPEC Scope

OPEC was engaged by the Commonwealth to undertake remediation of Explosive Ordnance Material (EOM) at four sites across Australia. The purpose of these works was to reduce the hazards presented by the EOM so that Defence could meet its Environmental and Work Health and Safety obligations, thereby allowing safe and efficient operation of the facilities.  The primary objective of the project was to treat, certify as Free from Explosive (FFE), demilitarise, and recycle all Explosive Ordnance Material (EOM) that had generated by previous training activities.

Challenges / Solutions

Waste Organic Light Flashing Furnace.

To ensure that excess Explosive Ordnance Material (EOM) was managed in a cost effective, safe and environmentally compliant manner, OPEC Systems designed a process where the EOM was super-heated in a specially designed mobile furnace. This process removed all explosive residues that allowed the EOM to be suitably and safely recycled.  More than 98% of 900 tonnes of waste material was able to be recycled using this process. The entire system operated in complete compliance with State Regulators for emissions control and was a first of its type in Australia.

Treatment of suspected 30mm High Explosive Incendiary (HEI) Projectiles.

To mitigate the risk of potential 30mm HEI projectiles, for the first time in Australia, an innovative x-ray process was used by a commercial UXO company to ascertain the nature of the suspected 30mm HEI projectiles.  In total, 20,766 suspected 30mm HEI projectiles were subjected to an x-ray inspection.  This x-ray solution confirmed that 167 projectiles were confirmed as UXO.