Hill Air Force Base detonates missile motors

Local News

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Did you hear a loud boom in Davis or Weber Counties Tuesday afternoon?

Hill Air Force Base officials say there’s no need to worry. It was them.

The Air Force detonated a third stage Trident I ballistic missile motor at the Utah Test and Training Range around 12:30 p.m., and was most likely the cause of noise heard across Davis and Weber Counties.

The detonation is part of an operation to eliminate aged propellant and to destroy motors as part of international treaties to reduce the number of ballistic missiles. These detonations typically occur two or three times a week during May through October.

Hill Air Force officials say they do their best to make sure their work won’t cause too much noise across the Wasatch Front. Here’s how: 

Before detonations, the Air Force takes atmospheric readings to check wind speed, direction and other factors that are entered into a sound model to determine if conditions are within an acceptable range. If the model predicts that noise is going to be louder than permitted levels at locations along the Wasatch Front, a detonation will be delayed.  Tuesday’s detonation was within the allowable permit range.

“With the variability of upper atmospheric weather conditions this time of year, the model does not always accurately predict sound levels along the Wasatch Front,” said Michelle Cottle, chief of the 75th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch. “We had something similar happen in 2014.”

From 2012 through Tuesday, September 19, 2017 more than 300 motors have been destroyed at the UTTR.

More information about UTTR detonation operations here: http://www.hill.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1196779/detonation-season-begins-at-utah-test-and-training-range/.

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