Military installations worldwide may be getting new, cheaper munitions storage buildings because an Ogden man's attention was caught one day two years ago by his grandson's building blocks.
Air Force officials detonated 500,000 pounds of explosives Friday afternoon in a test of the new structure, called the Hayman Igloo, and their initial reaction to the test is cautious optimism.A full analysis of the test blast's effect on the igloo won't be ready for several days. Demolition and bomb disposal teams will comb the test sight for unexploded bombs before inspection teams can gain access to it.
But Lowell Hayman, a civilian munitions worker at Hill Air Force Base, said the test was a resounding success.
The largest explosion in the history of the state demolished the igloo the explosives were stored in and collapsed another one 100 feet away. But three more of the structures appeared on video tapes to have survived the blast in good shape.
"It looked good to me," said Hayman, who viewed the blast with Air Force officials from a safe point about seven miles away. "We knew, of course, that the donor igloo, where the explosives were detonated, would be gone.
"And we knew the one next to it would collapse. You can't detonate that much explosive without either collapsing the building next to it or have it fall into the crater. But from what we can see on the videotapes, it doesn't look like the ordnance stored in the collapsed igloo detonated, and that's what we're after."
Hayman said the Defense Department has been studying better munitions storage techniques for several years, looking for a way to store the maximum amount of ordnance in the smallest possible area.
The problem has been compounded by what military experts term propogation, but what Hayman calls the "popcorn effect": one pile of exploding bombs setting off an adjacent one, which in turn sets off the next to it.
That's why Hayman was excited when the igloo only 100 feet from the one that was blown up collapsed, but none of the 36 live bombs stored inside it detonated.
And, none of the 48 live bombs stored in two other adjacent igloos, which apparantly survived the blast intact, detonated either.
Hayman's igloo design uses steel-reinforced, prefabricated concrete slabs, notched together, topped with a 20-ton concrete roof. A 20-by 80-foot igloo can be put together in about four days, costing $100,000.
"Legos," Hayman said when asked where he got the idea. "I was watching my grandson one day a couple years ago, putting something together with his Lego set, and I thought we could use the same idea for the igloos."
"I brought the idea to our drafting and engineering people on base and they took it from there." Hayman said.
The current buildings, made of concrete poured on site, take up to six months to build and cost $500,000, according to the Air Force.
Projecting that out, if the Air Force builds 2,000 new munitions storage sheds at its installations around the world, a conservative estimate according to Defense Department officials, the savings could total $800 million.
Maj. Mike Dougherty, the officer in charge of Friday's test blast, said munitions storage is a pressing problem, especially in Europe. Air Force bases are being ringed with urban development all over the continent, he said, and land is increasingly expensive.
Defense Department regulations are strict about the amount of explosives that can be stored and their proximity to populated areas. Dougherty said if the maximum amount of ordinance ordnance-- 500,000 pounds--can be safely stored in igloos within 100 feet of each other, the ordinance ordnance storage problem is closer to being solved.
The United States is not the only nation working on the problem; o. Observers from France and England also attended the test.
Dougherty said Friday's test was a success in at least one aspect--minimizing the effect on the populous Wasatch Front.
Observers and gauges were posted around the UTTR, at mineral plants in the Great Salt Lake, at the state's pumping station, at the Lakeside railroad camp, and even on the eastern edge of the lake, at the Syracuse entrance to the Antelope Island causeway.
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South Korea on Friday after radicals attacked an American housing compound with firebombs and iron pipes.
A U.S. military spokesman would not be specific about the security measures. He said U.S. Army headquarters were still on the alert imposed during the Olympics that included routine identification checks and spot-checks of cars.
U.S. Army commander Gen. Louis Menetrey condemned Thursday night's attack, which the army said caused more than $13,000 worth of damage to cars and slightly injured two American soldiers.