This paper presents a study on using high-pressure ammonia and abrasive ammonia jets for cutting and washout of chemical weapons. The work focused on chemical rocket M55 simulants. A test chamber was built to cut M60 training and M61 practice rockets at Redstone Arsenal by Teledyne-Commodore who developed a complete destruction process using alkali metals dissolved in anhydrous ammonia to form the aggressive solvated electron technology (SET™) solution. The rocket is loaded in a rotary chuck and stationary cutting/piercing nozzles were used to cut and drill through the rocket. This approach was found to be effective due to minimizing the number of moving parts. High-pressure direct drive and intensifier pumps were developed for this application. It was found that intensifier-based pumps are more suitable for robust field use. The abrasive ammonia jets performed well for cutting the rocket metal shell (aluminum and steel) casing as well as the outside fiberglass case. A wash-out-ammonia jet lance has also been found to completely wash out the simulant materials. Over 20 rockets were successfully cut by Teledyne personnel without any incidents. It was concluded that the use of anhydrous ammonia has numerous advantages over conventional water for chemical weapon demilitarization applications.

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