GA, under contract to the Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, recently demonstrated the successful destruction of over 9,000 landmines in a Munition Cryofracture Demilitarization Facility (MCDF) at MCAAP in Oklahoma. The remotely operated facility uses robots to place the munitions on traveling conveyor holders, which pass through a liquid-nitrogen cryobath where the munition components are embrittled prior to being placed into a Cryofracture press where they are fractured into small pieces. Cryofracture debris is conveyed to a rotary kiln for deactivation. Solid debris from the process is discharged to a scrap conveyer where it is monitored prior to disposal. Gaseous effluent is passed through a cyclone to an afterburner and pollution-abatement system for safe release to the atmosphere.
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Anti-Personnel Mine Destruction
GA was responsible for design, procurement, assembly, installation, training, and complete integration and startup of the facility. Details of the facility and hardware photos are shown on the website http://gamcaapmcdf.starband.biz/. The plant has successfully demonstrated integrated operation of all the plant systems. Processing rates of 360 munitions per hour have been demonstrated for ADAM QA mines. The cryofractured debris is fed into an APE (Army Peculiar Equipment)-1236 Rotary Kiln System (RKS)/APCS deactivation furnace. Since the energetics are accessed and exposed, there are no high-order detonations or violent events—only energetic burning.
From Lethal Land Mines
To Harmless Debris That Can be Recycled
The MCDF is designed to accommodate non-normal operating conditions safely with multiple levels of shutdown protection, error recovery features, and automatic remote operation controls to minimize personnel risk. Any malfunctions of the system are sensed and recorded by the data management system to allow appropriate automatic safety response or shutdown, and provide data for cause evaluation.