U.S. Navy builds a facility to load PBX’s into General Purpose bombs

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At the time that the above-mentioned CNA report was issued, the Navy had already provided 13.2 million dollars to build a facility to load PBX’s in large weapons at the Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, OK. The FY 1986 procurement of Navy BLU-110/B (MK-83 1000 lb bomb) was being loaded with PBXN-109 and the FY 88 – 89 procurement of NAVY BLU-111 (MK-82 500 lb bomb) was either being loaded or was scheduled to be loaded with PBXN-109.

PBXN-109 loaded 500 lb. bomb slow cook-off test result.

PBXN-109 loaded bombs satisfied all of the Navy IM requirements except sympathetic detonation in the stowage configuration. Meeting all but the sympathetic detonation requirement was a substantial improvement over the TNT-based explosive use in these weapons.

Shortly after the CNA report on insensitive munitions was issued, the Navy Bomb Project Office asked the OPNAV Insensitive Munitions Council for a waiver to allow them to return to the H-6 rather than the PBX load in bombs. The justification cited for the waiver was that more bombs could be loaded for the same cost if H-6 were used rather than PBXN-109. The OPNAV IM Council refused to grant the waiver. Perhaps the memory of what H-6 loaded bombs had done to the aircraft carrier decks influenced its decision.

Aircraft carrier flight deck following the detonation of an H-6 loaded MK-82 500 pound bomb. Navy Photo.

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