Case Study: 60mm Mortar Disposal


MOD Shoeburyness Test and Evaluation Range, managed by QinetiQ under the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA), received an urgent request from the UK MOD’s Defence General Munitions to safely manage the disposal of 17,000 mortars in six weeks.

Mortar disposal showing secured cases of explosives on pallets
The brief

The UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence General Munitions (MOD DGM) is our primary customer for demilitarisation services – the safe disposal of surplus, compromised or expired-life munitions. MOD DGM approached us to manage the disposal of a significant percentage of the UK stock of 60mm mortars which were degraded and a safety concern. The 17,000 mortars were made up of three types: High Explosive, White Phosphorus, and Illuminating. Although this makes up a regular part of the demilitarisation team’s work, the difficulties of quantity and variation combined with a six-week deadline posed quite a challenge for our team.

We only had two weeks to arrange selecting, packing and transportation, which then gave QinetiQ a maximum of four weeks to dispose of the stock. The responsiveness and flexibility helped me to overcome many potential problems, and was very much appreciated. I think it’s fair to say that without the excellent working relationships we have developed over the past few years and our shared vision and determination to achieve the required outcome, this would not have been possible. ” - Disposals Officer for MOD DGM

Our solution

Our demilitarisation team, operating under the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) had to respond quickly and flexibly to meet the requirements of the MOD DGM and dispose of the mortars.

This involved drawing on expertise and experience from our MOD Shoeburyness team, who adopted various techniques to suit the different types of mortar. The task was resource intensive and complex, with some mortars being reverse-engineered, some incinerated, and others detonated.

QinetiQ's demilitarisation team safely disposes of around 3,800 tonnes of munitions per year

Mortar disposal blog image showing two soldiers operating a mortar
Outcomes and benefits

Our demilitarisation team were able to complete the resource intensive and complex requirement for MOD DGM, safely disposing of the 17,000 mortars ahead of the customer deadline. This project is an example of the customer-focused and flexible approach that our teams demonstrate. By responding quickly to the task in hand we were able to ensure that the mortars were disposed of before they became a threat to safety.

Our demilitarisation capability at MOD Shoeburyness is just one of the vital, specialist services provided under the LTPA, safely disposing of 3,800 tonnes of munitions per year.