Accident Reporting January 2017 – August 2017

Explosions at ammunition depot and major evacuations (Balaklija, Ukraine, 23 March 2017)

In the night of 23th of March 2017 a fire occurred in Balaklija Ammunition Depot, which caused several explosions at 3.00h. The explosions ejected ammunition from open stacks throughout the whole ammunition depot and its vicinity. Media reported that altogether 138.000 tonnes of different ammunition was stored in the ammunition depot. Most of the munitions were artillery shells and unguided/guided rockets and missiles which were spread all over the ammunition depot and within the city of Balaklija. The ammunition depot was totally destroyed. The government ordered the evacuation of Balaklija at first within a radius of 5km followed later by a radius of 7km. In total 35.000 residents have been affected by the accident. It is reported that a house collapsed by ammunition debris and killed one woman inside. Another woman was injured at her head.

Pro-Russian separatists published that those responsible for the ammunition depot caused the fire to hide deficiencies in ammunition stocks to an upcoming official inspection suggesting they bought those ammunition illegally.

Ukrainian government stated that the fire and the explosion of the ammunition depot were caused by sabotage conducted by pro-Russian separatists. Drones would have been used like in a similar event at the ammunition depot in December 2015. A drone carrying a incendiary device was found within the ammunition depot surrounding fences. Two other cases were reported in 2015 and 2016.

Explosion at Lake City ammunition plant (Missouri, USA, 11 April 2017)

An explosion took place in a mixing building at the Lake City ammunition plant in Independence near Kansas City, Missouri. The explosion caused one fatality and four injured. The four injured employees were evaluated on scene and refused further treating. The explosion took place in a primer mixing cell. The facility is owned by the service but operated by Orbital-ATK and produces more than 1 billion rounds of small-caliber ammunition each year. About 30 government employees work at the plant, including 29 civilians and one soldier. The slain worker and the others who were injured were all employed by the company.

Just before the accident Orbital-ATK received a nearly $100 million contract from the Army to produce 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammo for the service. The company and the Army have upgraded the facility in recent years to enhanced product quality, performance and efficiency, according to a recent press release. Since 2000, ATK has produced more than 17 billion rounds of small-caliber ammunition at Lake City to support U.S. and allied warfighters around the globe.

The sprawling facility is housed on nearly 4,000 acres and includes 408 buildings, 43 magazines, nine warehouses and storage capacity of 707,000 square feet, according to the Army.

Rocket Propelled Grenade accident (Military Training Area Wildflecken, Germany, 16 May 2017)

During training in a complex battle exercise a soldier was killed by a rocket propelled grenade. The killed soldier was one of two soldiers firing their RPG from different positions. After he fired his RPG it is assumed that he would like to change his position. He left his position and passed within 1m the backblast area/restricted area of another RPG shooter just in the moment when this shooter fired his RPG. The soldier was hit by the backblast and a repulsion mass (mass fired backward to neutralize the recoil of the RPG). 

Illegal ordnance collection explodes in shed during heat wave (Hennef, Germany, 31 may 2017)

An ordnance collection haphazardly stored in a shed detonated or exploded resulting in a fire. The items belonged to a 51-year-old man who reportedly purchased the items (illegally) at a flea market. The man, an amateur ordnance collector, was arrested for illegally possessing and storing explosives.

Bomb disposal experts responding to the scene shut down a stretch of railroad and a highway and evacuated several homes in the area due to concerns that the heat from the fire could cause additional explosions. The remaining ordnance, reported as WII era munitions, were destroyed in a controlled explosion in a nearby field. Police are investigating the exact circumstances of the incident with further charges potentially pending for the alleged offender. 

CHALLENGER 2 Incident at Castlemartin Ranges (Pembrokeshire, UK, 14 June 2017)

Between 2-16 Jun 17, BADGER Squadron (Sqn) of the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) was conducting a CHALLENGER 2 (CR2) live firing exercise at Castlemartin Ranges (CMR), Merrion Camp, Pembrokeshire. On 14 Jun 17 at 1525, CR2, Equipment Registration Mark (ERM) DS39AA suffered an internal explosion whilst conducting a Live Fire Exercise (LFX) on Range 4. All 4 crew members were injured and were subsequently transferred to hospital, where 2, the Commander and Loader/Operator, later died.

The FV4034 Challenger 2 British main battle tank

A detailed service inquiry report is available at: !