For many years we routinely destroyed weapons and ammunition as part of our general clearance activities, however, the enormous quantities of ammunition in Afghanistan post-2001 led us to establish a new division that works solely in this specialised field.
We are now the leading organisation in the field of Weapons & Ammunition Disposal (WAD), with a highly specialised understanding of the specific challenges involved in the disposal of ammunitions. We currently have programmes operating in Afghanistan, Angola, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Somaliland and Mozambique, and we have successfully completed disposal projects in Cambodia and Georgia.
All ammunition has a shelf life and over time it can degrade and can even spontaneously explode. We work with military and government officials to identify and destroy stocks of unsafe and unstable ammunition.
In Afghanistan we began such a process in 2003 after huge quantities of ammunition were surrendered by Commanders who had joined the new Afghan government. Over the course of the next four years, HALO’s WAD teams destroyed more than 5.5 million items of ordnance and developed techniques and equipment for the handling and transportation of bulk ammunition.
We have also worked in support of the military in Angola and Cambodia, both of these countries having suffered serious ammunition storage accidents before receiving HALO’s assistance.
In total we have now destroyed more than 6.7 million explosive items (20,000 tonnes of ordnance) ranging from canon rounds to guided missiles. Our WAD teams have also destroyed nearly 560,000 AP mines and 140,000 Cluster-bomb sub-munitions.
Small Arms Ammunition Disposal
In many conflicts it is the supply of ammunition that governs the choice of weapon used.
Starving the supply of small arms ammunition is therefore an important part of establishing a lasting peace. To support this process we have developed a series of specially designed incinerators for dealing with small quantities of ammunition, destroying up to 100kg of ammunition per burn. Larger quantities of ammunition are destroyed in burn pits.
Small Arms and Light Weapons
In the aftermath of conflict the collection of unwanted small arms and light weapons is usually undertaken as part of a Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) process, often with HALO acting as a disposal service.
After being registered by us and certified by police or military officials, the weapons are normally destroyed using hydraulic shears for large stocks, or using power saws for smaller quantities.
We have developed our own weapons cutting shear that has the capacity to chop more than 500 weapons a day, and yet is small enough to be towed behind a vehicle. This allows us to take the shears out to remote villages, providing a unique opportunity to conduct weapons cutting in a very transparent fashion, which can be critical in securing support for weapons disposal from the general public.
Guided Weapons and Air Dropped Bombs
Guided weapons, especially surface to air missiles, can have serious regional security implications with any use potentially having far reaching consequences.
We work with partner governments to destroy unwanted and degraded guided missiles, alongside properly securing any weapons that the authorities wish to retain.
This approach has led to the destruction of thousands of guided missiles, ranging from the total destruction of Cambodia’s stockpile of SAM7 Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), to the dismantling and destruction of SA2 (Guideline/Dvina missiles) from air bases across Angola and the destruction of SA3 Goa/Pechora missiles in Afghanistan.
We have also destroyed thousands of aircraft bombs, sometimes using their inherent explosive power to destroy other munitions in the process.
We have developed a range of mechanical tools to assist our Weapons & Ammunitions Disposal teams in their work, for example, tele-handlers, medium wheeled loaders, truck mounted cranes, conveyors and elevators.
By using mechanical handling equipment our teams enjoy enhanced productivity, allowing us to load and unload thousands of truckloads of ammunition in the most efficient and effective manner. The use of mechanical excavators gives us the quickest possible access to ammunition, which is often buried in collapsed storage bunkers.
To maximise operator safety all HALO excavators are fully armoured.
Heavy weapons are defined as those weapons requiring a team of personnel to operate and fire them and include tanks and artillery pieces.
We have devised a range of tools and techniques to de-activate and immobilise heavy weapons by removing breach blocks and engine components.
So far HALO has de-activated thousands of heavy weapons, the removal of which can be a crucial factor to safe-guarding a fragile peace process.