Quantcast Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard

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Some ordnance, such as rocket ammunition, maybe susceptible to ignition by electromagnetic radiation (from such sources as radar or radio transmitters). This condition is called Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance (HERO). Information regarding the protection of ordnance material from radiation hazards is contained in NAVSEA OP 3565/NAVAIR 16-1-529/NAVELEX 0967-LP-624-6010.


Quantity-Distance (Q-D) is the area between two or more explosive-loaded ships, magazines, piers, facilities, and so forth, figured into a safe handling zone. This Q-D relationship is such that if one ship with mass-detonating explosives were to explode, damage to the surrounding area would be minimized by its distance from other local units or facilities. This Q-D area is determined by the amount of explosive material contained by the units or facilities involved. The amount of explosives is computed in pounds. This weight value is called Net Equivalent Explosive Weight (NEEW). NEEW is the weight of the actual explosive content in an ordnance unit. The formulas for computing NEEW are contained in NAVSEA OP 5. An illustration of a typical application of quantity-distance requirements for inport ammunition handling is shown in Figure 2-33. The basic purpose of showing this illustration here is to give you an idea of the magnitude of computations involved in a Q-D problem. The columns and tables referred to in this figure are located

Figure 2-33.-TypicaI application of quantity-distance at port facilities.

in NAVSEA OP 5, volume 1. You will need to refer to this publication to fully understand the legend accompanying this figure. NAVSEA OP 5, volume 2 provides more specific information about Q-D requirements.


LEARNING OBJECTIVE Recall missile handling information, to include weapons station processing; issue and receipt processing; containers, canisters and handling equipment operations; and replenishment methods.

Where do missiles come from and how do they get aboard ship? As a GM, you must know the answers to those questions. Figure 2-34 illustrates the key steps in the processing and handling of missiles. Study it for a moment. Notice that some of the directional arrows go both ways.


Guided missiles originate at a naval weapons station (NWS or WPNSTA). It is a shore activity whose primary mission is to supply the fleet with all types of ammunition. The major NWSs in the continental United States (CONUS) are at

Figure 2-34.-The major sequences of missile processing and handling. 2-43

Concord, California; Seal Beach, California Earle, New Jersey; Yorktown, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina. There are other smaller ammunition handling activities located throughout CONUS and overseas.

Gunner's Mates are frequently assigned (shore) duty at NWSs. If you get such an assignment, you will be involved with many phases of missile processing. The level of missile maintenance done at an NWS is more detailed and technically oriented than that accomplished aboard ship. The following paragraphs briefly summarize some of the major NWS missile processing events. (Refer to fig. 2-34.)

Issue Processing

Individual missile sections are received from civilian manufacturers. When the components arrive at the NWS, they are placed in stowage. Each component (warhead section, guidance section, etc.) is shipped in its own specialized container. As needed to fulfill fleet missile requirements, the individual components are unpacked and inspected. The sections are tested separately and then carefully assembled to "build" a complete missile.

The fully assembled missile undergoes more testing. Strict quality assurance (QA) standards are checked and double-checked throughout the entire process. When the missile is completely ready, it is certified and classified as an all-up-round (AUR).

The AUR missile is then placed into a missile shipping/stowage container. The round is then transported to either of two locations. If the missile will be issued to the fleet in the near future, it is moved to ready-for-issue (RFI) stowage. Although RFI stowage is only temporary, the weapon will still be checked and inspected regularly.

If the missile will be issued to a fleet unit (ship) immediately, it is moved to the NWS's dock facility. Railroad cars or trucks are used to transport the missile to the loading area/pier. When it arrives at the staging area on the pier, the missile is removed from its container. Normally, the round will be loaded into a missile transfer dolly. The transfer dolly is then moved to the ship, and GMLS strikedown operations take place. (There are other ways to handle missiles on the pier and we'll discuss them later.)

The operation just described could be as simple as delivering one missile to a combatant ship. However, NWSs are capable of replenishing the entire ammunition inventory of any type and size of ship, combatant or otherwise. Ammunition cargo carriers, such as AE- and AOE-type ships and specially contracted commercial vessels, are major customers at an NWS. Although they carry a much smaller capacity of ammunition, AO- and AOR-type ships also are replenished at an NWS. Occasionally, the NWS will load ammunition onto a lighter (ammunition barge). The lighter is then moved to the receiving ship's location and the ammunition transfer conducted at an anchorage.

Receipt Processing

NWSs are equipped to receive missiles (and other munitions) from fleet units. Missiles returned to an NWS are generally in one of two conditions- serviceable or damaged.

A serviceable missile is one that is still in good shape. It may, however, have reached its expiration date, Usually, the age of a missiles explosive and propellant grains is used to establish a "shelf-life" for the round. Beyond that shelf life, the reliability of the weapon may be in question. So it is turned in to be checked. When a ship goes into overhaul, all its ammunition, including serviceable missiles, will be off-loaded at an NWS. Only a small amount of small-arms ammunition will be retained on board.

After a serviceable missile is received at the NWS, it is moved to a rework/repair shop. (See fig. 2-34.) The missile is disassembled and given a complete (inside and out) inspection. Modifications and update alterations are installed and all surfaces are cleaned and preserved. The missile is reassembled, tested, and recertified for fleet use. It is moved to RFI stowage or immediately reissued to a fleet unit. Essentially, the missile undergoes its own overhaul and remains within the Navy's ammunition inventory. That is a cost-effective and time-saving arrangement.

If a missile is damaged or suspected of being damaged, it must be turned into an NWS. That should be done as soon as possible. For deployed units, it may mean transferring the missile to an AE-type ship first. The AE will return the round to an NWS along with the combatant ship's damage report.

Missile damage can result from various causes. Examples include rough handling, wetdown (from a sprinkler system), excessive temperatures, or dud/misfire failures. The NWS accepts these "bad" rounds and conducts a very thorough investigation. If the damage is minor, the NWS makes the necessary repairs and readies the missile for reissue. Sometimes the damage is major and beyond the repair capabilities of the NWS. In that case, the affected section(s) are returned to an industrial repair facility for rework. If the repair cannot be done economically, the section(s) are disposed of according to current instructions.

In summary, naval weapons stations provide several valuable services to the ordnance community. They act as major stock points, injecting new weapons and munitions into the fleet while removing the old and unserviceable items. They also act as maintenance and repair facilities to provide the fleet with the best weapons and munitions possible. The NWS activities play an important role in contributing to the high state of fleet readiness.


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