Air Force to detonate 10,000 pounds of explosives from now until September

Apr 8, 2024, 7:00 PM

A bomb is dropped from a U.S. Air Force F-35A at the Utah Test and Training Range on Thursday, Feb....

20160227 A bomb is dropped from a U.S. Air Force F-35A at the Utah Test and Training Range on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY — The United States Air Force is getting rid of old and obsolete Department of Defense rocket motors. However, they’re not just tossing them in the garbage can. They are blowing them up. Iin fact, the process will involve more than 10,000 pounds of net explosive weight. 

Over 300 of these rocket motors have been detonated since 2012. All of them have been disposed of near the Bonneville Salt Flats at the Utah Test and Training Range, the only permitted location in the United States where these detonations can be done.

A press release from Hill Air Force Base says that the USAF will begin large detonation operations this month. They plan to have one or two detonations per week through September.

Typically when Utahns dispose of things considered old or obsolete, the answer isn’t to blow them up. However where DOD rocket motors are concerned, detonation is environmentally the best, current way to dispose of these large rocket motors according to Amanda Burton, 75th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch Chief.

“We want to do this work without adversely affecting our neighbors and the environment,” Burton said.

Making waves in Lake Bonneville

The detonations are going to be loud. The USAF of course knows this and that’s why they’re doing everything they need to do to make sure that the explosions are as controlled as possible with the most favorable atmospheric conditions available. After The Air Force preforms a series of atmospheric tests, they will put the data into a sound prediction model to find out if detonation conditions are acceptable for a detonation. 

If they are, then boom.

If not, then no boom.

 The Air Force says that they will delay detonation if the readings say that the detonation would be too loud.

“Atmospheric conditions can change rapidly between the time we take a reading and the actual detonation,” Burton said. “This current model we’re using is a very reliable tool in determining how far sound from a detonation will travel from the UTTR.” However, it’s not 100% accurate 100% of the time. 

The press release mentioned that there have been instances in the past where some residents have felt vibrations minutes after the detonations. 

Related: Space capsule to land in West Desert


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Air Force to detonate 10,000 pounds of explosives from now until September