Marine Services

Underwater munitions search
Underwater munitions  

Legacy military training within coastal training ranges and past practices by numerous countries of dumping munitions at sea as a means of disposal of damaged or obsolete munitions has resulted in areas of the oceans with access restricted, which could otherwise be utilized for sport or tourism, due to the possibility of inadvertently being exposed to explosive hazards. There is a growing movement worldwide to remove these munitions from the sea, especially in shallow waters. Munitions near beaches wash ashore with major storm events leading to costly removal actions, many on a recurring basis as the source area location is not known or remediated as part of the removal action on the beach.

Also of concern is the increase of activities in the oceans from the fishery and oil and gas exploration and development. As activities in the oceans increase, so does the risk of an encounter from off shore / sea-dumped munitions. The recovery and destruction operation of underwater munitions in a safe, economical, and environmentally sound manner is a challenge that can be met.

Sonar for detection of UXO  

UXB International, Inc. (UXB) has the unique skills to address coastal range remediation as part of our Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP) and sea-dumped munitions as a stand-alone, but related program. The approach using innovative technologies singularly, or in combination, can locate, recover, and demilitarize underwater munitions in an innovative and cost-effective method. Additionally, the demilitarization technology can irreversibly and safely destroy the munitions, leaving only scrap metal for recycle, while producing no secondary waste streams for disposal.

UXB's Military Munitions Response Program addresses assessment, mapping, and recovery of legacy munitions from formerly used defense sites (FUDS). The full suite of services and proven capabilities for underwater work includes:

  • Analog geophysical surveys
  • Digital geophysical mapping (DGM)
  • Reacquisition and intrusive investigation of suspect munitions
  • Removal and disposal of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC)
  • On call UXB emergency response services

In addition, UXB has experience performing remedial investigation and feasibility studies, MEC transport studies in ocean environments, and preparation of all related decision documents to support the U.S. Department of Defense military munitions response program.

Sea-Dumped Munitions Recovery / Demilitarization

Underwater munitions can be safely mapped, recovered, or disposed of in most underwater environments. To accomplish our missions, UXB engages in strategic partnerships with niche technology and service providers with a proven record. In shallow to deep water, munitions can be detected, marked, investigated, and recovered off the seafloor using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), divers, remote operated vehicles (ROVs), and sonar systems.

Autonomous ROV
Seaeye Autonomous ROV  

UXB's marine equipment and services include:

  • Project Management
  • Historical Research
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Intrusive and Non-Intrusive Investigations
  • Subsurface Secondhand Recovery
  • Remedial Options
  • Marine Deep Water Surveys and Inspection
  • Remotely Operated and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
  • Sea-bed and Sub-bottom Surveys
  • Mini-ROV Imaging Sonar, Video, and Manipulation
  • Support Vessels
  • Underwater Video
  • Unexploded Ordnance Hazardous Investigation Identification and Disposal
  • Demilitarization of Recovered Munitions Items

The Liberty Bell 7 Recovery

Liberty Bell 7

The Liberty Bell 7 was the space capsule of Virgil "Gus" Grissom, the second Mercury astronaut launched into space. Upon splashdown on July 21, 1961, the capsuleā€™s explosive-powered hatch jettisoned prematurely, flooding the capsule. A Marine rescue helicopter rescued Grissom, but was unable to lift the waterlogged capsule. The space capsule was lost at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The goal of the "In Search of Liberty Bell 7" expedition was to locate and recover the lost American space capsule. UXB was contracted to participate in the expedition. UXB's role began once the space capsule was on-board the recovery ship. Liberty Bell 7 contained an unexploded Sound Fixing and Ranging (SOFAR) bomb, which was designed to arm and detonate as the capsule sank through 4,000 feet of sea water. Because it did not detonate as designed, the bomb remained live and a risk to all participants of the expedition.

Once the capsule was recovered, UXB personnel safely located and disposed of the SOFAR bomb at sea. The Liberty Bell 7 was sent to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, for restoration.