Tooele Supports C4 Rocket Motor Storage for U.S. Navy
January 21, 2014
Beginning early in Fiscal 2012, Tooele Army Depot (TEAD) began providing storage and surveillance support to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and support contractor, Alliant Techsystems (ATK). After two successful years of receiving and storing C4 motors for MDA, the U.S. Navy's C4 program manager contacted Tooele requesting for additional storage support for Navy assets.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane (NSWC Crane) proposed that TEAD assist in storage of the first C4 third stage motor at the Depot's South Area. "With our experience in receiving and storing first stage and second stage motors for MDA we felt prepared to assist the U.S. Navy," said Jerry Romano, Chief, Shipping and Receiving Division, Tooele Army Depot. "Our motor crew consists of 10 highly trained personnel capable to ship and receive all three stages of the Navy C4 rocket."
NSWC Crane laid out its plan to deliver the motors to TEAD in a Conex type shipping container. The container is referred to as the Heated Orbus Container (HOC) and is used to transport third stage rocket motors. The HOC contains an externally mounted diesel motor that powers an environmental control unit. The diesel engine is started by an externally mounted 12 volt automotive battery. The HOC has restraint points in the floor for motor retention and contains fork pockets for loading/unloading to/from flatbed trailers.
NSWC Crane initially requested the motors to be stored in the HOC inside a facility to eliminate handling of the motors. Once TEAD/NSWC personnel received the HOC it was determined that the motors cannot be stored in the HOC inside the facility. Upon unloading from the HOC, the motor must be manually maneuvered into the storage facility in less than six minutes, or covered with a motor blanket, to avoid motor solar exposure. Navy requirements for the C4 third stage motors require the less than six minute solar exposure to eliminate any possibility of solar heating of the propellant due the translucent motor case. Environmentally controlled storage of C4 motors is required at 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels of less than 50 percent. Tooele team provides monitoring of storage conditions with alerts in the event the facility reaches out of tolerance storage conditioning.
Prior to delivery of live motors, NSWC Crane required Tooele personnel perform the operations using a Pathfinder (inert motor). This would allow both sides to evaluate the operation and come up with recommendations on any requirements to demonstrate all handling procedures. NSWC Crane provided procedures for the unloading/loading of the HOC from/to a flatbed trailer and roll transfer of the motor into/out of the HOC. TEAD personnel incorporated the procedures into their Standard Operating Procedures. The Pathfinder was a successfully conducted during early November.
TEAD is expected to receive live motors from (ATK), Magna, Utah, in the spring of 2014, once they have performed inspections and system checks. The Navy has received permission to store the third stage motors in an environmentally controlled ordnance igloo that belongs to MDA.
TEADs shipping and receiving mission will include assisting ATK shipping motors to and from their facilities and also transporting them to facilities such as Dugway Proving Grounds (DPG), Utah, for aging and surveillance testing or delivery test motors to the customer.