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Thread: Ratio of uxb

  1. #1
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    Ratio of uxb

    Hello,

    I heard a lot about the percentage of unexploded bombs, but does anyone know (from official reports) the ratio of US (for example 500lb GP) unexploded bombs after a standard bombing (I know this ratio could vary due to weather, soil type, fuzes...)

    Regards
    Any Live or Dug ordnance shown by me has been disposed of by EOD personnel .

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    US EOD rule of thumb has for decades been 10%. You can make many arguments, but generally I believe that is pretty accurate. I've seen many claims of fuzing designed to eliminate duds, and while I realize that you may limit, Murphys Law is never cheated.

    I spent four years at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) as an EOD Team Leader, working R&D tests every day, weekends and holidays included. Much of that included many of the newest systems of the day and all of the improvements you could imagine. Among R&D we also conducted Lot acceptance testing of many submunition systems including MLRS, ATACMs, Lance, MK 118 Rockeyes, BLU-97 etc. These tests were tightly controlled as systems were deployed into specially prepared long term test areas called WITS (Weapon Impact Test Site). The WITS were leveled, graded, marked in 100' squares so that every detail of impact patterns and effects could be detailed. They were a circular area 2 miles in diameter, we had nine of them on WSMR.

    As part of the Lot acceptance testing for MLRS we would fire three full up six-packs, one at ambient temperatures, one heated (hot box) and one refrigerated (cold box). The heated and refrigerated six packs would be moved directly form the climate chambers at the launch point onto the launcher and fired immediately. Each six pack was done separately, and depending upon data recovery and clearance efforts it could be up to two weeks or more between firings. After the firing we would map the impact patterns of the six rockets from the air (helicopter), then move in on foot and clear grid by grid, identifying duds and their locations. Once the duds were identified and mapped we would detonate all duds, and the data collection people would move in for crater counts, motor, fuze and skin section locations, motor nozzle examination etc.

    This gave an excellent view of the difference that temperature alone could make on dud count. Noting that this was firing into a perfect impact area, which was re-graded after each firing and returned to condition, an ambient six pack (644 submunitions per rocket) would average between 175-250 duds. Hot would drop to 150-200. Cold would run around 250-400. Keep in mind that during my tenure there we averaged one six pack a week, for over 4 years, so we were pretty confident on our observations and could predict fairly well what our workload was going to be from a given firing.

    As you noted, other environmental conditions also affect things significantly. A pattern missing the impact area (rare, but shit happens) would result in impact into soft sand, high grass, snow, etc. All had significant results on dud rate, generally pushing it up higher and higher. This was mirrored with other systems described above and also noted in patterns observed in the Gulf War.

    So individual systems vary, impact in different environmental conditions vary, but when you average it out is all seems to come back to about 10%, regardless of improvements or technology. Once it gets to the field the field wins.
    All dug or live ordnance shown in my posts is under EOD control and has been or will be dealt with accordingly by EOD personnel

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    An interesting question and a very detailed and comprehensive answer based on your experience. Thank you for taking the time to write the post, it made for an informative read.
    Best Weasel.
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    BOCN HELPING TO PROMOTE SAFE RESPONSIBLE ORDNANCE COLLECTING


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    It is my understanding all those dud MRLS submunitions caused Allied forces a great amount of grief when occupying Iraqi positions that had been bombarded. I wonder how many millions of duds are still buried in the WWI battlefields of France?

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    Yes, France has enormous quantities, but the farmers in Belgium unearth UXO every time they plow their fields.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M8owner View Post
    It is my understanding all those dud MRLS submunitions caused Allied forces a great amount of grief when occupying Iraqi positions that had been bombarded. I wonder how many millions of duds are still buried in the WWI battlefields of France?
    Steve, it wasn't just MLRS in DS that gave us the Willie's. A lot of Rockeyes, Beluga's, etc. were used. It was like they were clearing out the bunkers of all the old stuff. Responded to several positions hit by Rockeyes and nearly got left at a site in the middle of nowhere when we ID'd them and the '46 pilots freaked and pulled an immediate DiDi. My worst was finding a 5" Zuni HE warhead in the middle of a depression in Kahafji near a de-salinization plant and major road. Something told me I didn't want to move it, so we got the info and blew it in place (BIP'd) it. Got in to the pubs later and found out the base fuze was a MIG (magnetic induction generator). Made a nice pond in the Sa'abka (sp?).
    ALL ORDNANCE SHOWN BY ME HAS BEEN INERTED AND HAS NO LIVE FILLERS.

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    It was fascinating to see the results of many of the munitions when they left the test area and actually encountered the real world. Someplace I have a photo of something I would have sworn was not possible, I may have posted it previously. A MK116 Rockeye which hit a high power line, and stuck in the line. A million to one shot, and to actually penetrate and stick - but I guess more than a million were probably dropped, so maybe not that rare.
    All dug or live ordnance shown in my posts is under EOD control and has been or will be dealt with accordingly by EOD personnel

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    Jeff, like you, I saw some odd hits/duds with the MK116. A pod opened near the aforementioned 5" and there were a bunch of them sticking in the asphalt like lawn darts. Some creamed in, but there were several intact.
    ALL ORDNANCE SHOWN BY ME HAS BEEN INERTED AND HAS NO LIVE FILLERS.

 

 

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