Army to test underwater robots for removal of unexploded ordnance off Waiʻanae

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that Army demonstrated a remote-controlled underwater robot it will test for possible use to remove unexploded munitions off the Waiʻanae coast at a location known as “ordnance reef”.

The Army said it will begin a 21-day trial run Monday of a remote-controlled submersible designed to remove discarded military munitions from the ocean floor off the Waianae Coast.

The area called Ordnance Reef is littered with more than 2,000 World War II-era munitions including grenades, bullets, bullet casings and bombs, the Army said.

Officials will use the trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the vehicle to collect munitions, as well as gauge any damage to the reef. If the trial is a success, full-scale removal operations could begin next year.

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Munitions would be brought to a barge equipped with equipment to destroy the munitions, in most cases by cutting them up and baking them in a specially designed oven to render explosive material inert.

The project has an estimated cost of $2.5 million to $6 million, including the $1 million cost of the submersible.

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