At Brimstone UXO, we take great pride in our team of dedicated engineers who work tirelessly to ensure safety and security in environments affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO).

This International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), we are excited to highlight the incredible work of our engineer Mollie, who recently led a UXO demolition operation on a site in Kent.

Uxo engineer

Pre-demolition planning

The day started early at the Brimstone Head Office where I met with our Operations Manager, Jock. We discussed and finalised the UXO demolition plan, ensuring all equipment was ready, before loading up the truck and heading to site.

Fortunately on this occasion, the site we were travelling to was in the Medway area of Kent, and was only a short drive from our Head Office!

On-site preparations

Upon arriving at the site, we met with the client and introduced ourselves to the team before completing an on-site induction. This is an important part of the job because each project is different, and it’s essential we know the risks of working within the site as well as the wider site characteristics.

With the green light from the client, we moved to the location where the UXO items were safely stored. A Brimstone engineer had already deployed to site when the items were discovered and was able to identify them as 3.7” AA HE Projectiles. They were securely stored in a sandbox while we worked with the client to plan the best method of disposal.

Transport and UXO demolition setup

Jock and I transported the UXO items to the controlled demolition area, which had been carefully selected due to its secure location.

Meanwhile, the other members of Brimstone staff who had accompanied us to site stayed at the pre-determined safe firing point, with Harry, our drone pilot, preparing to record the demolition process from the sky.

At the demolition pit, Jock and I carefully placed the UXO items. We then filled multiple sandbags to place around the UXO as a protective measure to reduce the risk of fragmentation.

Once the sandbags were in place, I prepared the det cord and positioned the explosives correctly on the UXOs. This involved putting the two ends of the det cord in a double thumb knot to act as a booster and then placing them into the middle of the explosives.

Preparing the uxo demolition

Final checks and execution

The final steps of “detting up” involved securing the detonator under a sandbag and connecting the firing cable. We then placed the detonator on the det cord, taping around it to ensure it was secure. This part of the demolition preparation ensures that there is a chain reaction.

After checking the continuity to ensure a closed circuit, Jock and I returned to the firing point. We updated the client that the setup was complete and then issued a 30 second warning to all personnel on-site using radios.

With everyone informed, the striker was set up and fired, accompanied by a “STAND BY, FIRING NOW” call.

Uxo being prepped for demolition

Post-demolition inspection and debrief

After the detonation, Jock and I returned to the demolition pit to confirm the destruction of the UXO items. With the UXO demolition being successful, we removed the scrap metal, which was later transported for disposal at our site on the former air weapons range, RAF Cowden.

Returning to the Brimstone Head Office, we conducted a thorough debrief. This was an opportunity to go over any lessons learned, highlight what went well, and document any areas for improvement.

Smoke from the uxo demolition

In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day 2024

This International Women in Engineering Day, we celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in the engineering field.

At Brimstone UXO, we are proud to support and promote gender diversity within our team. Engineering is an integral part of our work, from our UXO engineers out on sites across the UK to our in-house geophysicist, it is essential in all areas of our business. We are proud to celebrate the remarkable women who are breaking barriers and leading the way in engineering.

You learn more about our UXO disposal work here. As always, you can keep up to date with Brimstone by following us on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn and YouTube.