Hill AFB begins large detonations at Utah Test and Training Range

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  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The Air Force will begin its season of large detonation operations this month at the Utah Test and Training Range. The detonations - those involving more than 10,000 pounds of net explosive weight -- are to destroy old or obsolete Navy and Air Force rocket motors.

Depending on weather conditions, one or two detonations are planned per week through September. Detonations are scheduled for Mondays and Tuesdays, with Wednesdays as a back up. This is subject to change.

"Detonation is the best environmental method for disposing of these large rocket motors," said Amanda Burton, a spokesperson for the 75th Civil Engineer Group's Environmental Branch.

Since 2012, more than 300 rocket motors have been destroyed at the UTTR, the only permitted place in the United States where this type of work can be done.

Before each large detonation at the UTTR, the Air Force takes atmospheric readings to check wind speed, direction and other factors, and enters the data into a sound prediction model to determine if conditions are acceptable for the detonation.  If the model predicts that noise is going to be louder than permitted levels at locations along the Wasatch Front, the detonations are delayed.

"We want to do this work without adversely affecting our neighbors and the environment," Burton said, adding this includes having sound monitors along the Wasatch Front. "We continue to update and upgrade our sound monitoring. This is still the safest and most efficient way of disposing of these motors."