DAC Designs Equipment to Demil Obsolete Motor Rockets

By Mrs Jaime Thompson (AMC)November 2, 2011

Demilitarization of M26 Multiple Launch Rocket System
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Defense Ammunition Center (DAC) provides engineering demil support that will assist in the removal of over 350,000 rockets from service and represents a significant workload for Depot's in the coming years.

"Demil of obsolete and unserviceable rockets frees up critically needed storage space for newer, and more modern munitions," said Michael Gainer, Project Engineer, DAC.

Aviation and Missile Research and Development Center (AMRDEC) began investigating an organic M26 rocket demil process in 2003. Their initial conceptual testing of a rocket body segmenting and motor demil process proved that the basic idea was feasible.

AMRDEC then turned to the Joint Munitions Command (JMC) Ammunition Peculiar Equipment (APE) program for the actual design of the equipment. JMC then tasked DAC to actually engineer the final equipment design, test, deploy and support this equipment during its production operation at the Depots.

DAC's Engineering Team began its design and development work on the M26 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) in March 2008. DAC designed the demil equipment used to demilitarize large stockpiles of obsolete and unserviceable M26 MLRS rockets in storage.

"While demil was the original plan, the equipment developed by DAC is flexible enough that if desired the rockets can be disassembled into reusable components," explained Gainer. "This allows the rocket motors to be converted into training grade munitions such as the RRPR (Reduced Range Practice Rocket).

The equipment lineup designed by DAC consists of a complete system capable of fully automated MLRS rocket extraction and separation operations.

The demil process was developed with the end goal in mind to recycle all possible components from the M26 rocket and Pod. Under this goal the aluminum used in the rocket bodies will be reclaimed and/or the rocket motor will be reconfigured for use as a practice round. All energetic items will be destroyed during the process.

The first fully functional MLRS Demil Equipment has been deployed to Anniston Army Depot, with another system planned for deployment to Letterkenny Army Depot.