ECBC unveils one-of-a-kind test chamber

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center leaders, from left, Ronald Pojunas, Fred Berg, Michael Abaie, Matthew Shue, Col. Thomas Saltysiak, William Klein, and Maj. John M. Williams cut the ribbon to the recently renovated Chemical Agent and Explosives test chamber. | Photo courtesy of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, has added another unique and fully modernized chamber to its cache of facilities that enable testing of military equipment against the deadliest chemical agents.

ECBC unveiled the newly renovated Chemical Agent and Explosives Chamber during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

The chamber is the only one in the nation that enables large-scale tests of equipment and vehicles with chemical agent and explosives simultaneously, a cenario that Warfighters must be prepared to face.

“The ability to conduct tests using chemical agent and energetics at the same time is a necessity in today’s world with what our adversaries are capable of,” said Michael Abaie, ECBC director of engineering. “We want to make sure that we provide our Soldiers the best equipment they need and this chamber gives us another tool to test equipment and ensure that we have the best equipped force in the world.”

The ceremony marked the end of a five-year, in-depth upgrade of the existing infrastructure, which was originally constructed in 1955.

The modernized chamber is 32 feet in diameter and 20 feet high, allowing room for tests of combat vehicles, tanks and projectiles.

The chamber features a new control room with real-time monitoring system, a new surety laboratory and chemical agent storage vault, expanded ingress and egress areas, environmental controls and digital video recording capability.

The personnel who operate the chamber are highly trained in chemical agent handling and operations, explosives and hazardous waste disposal.

“These are special people who are willing to work with deadly agents and explosives every day, putting their lives at risk to protect our Warfighters and [the] nation,” said Ron Pojunas, associate director of engineering.

Abaie said it is fitting to celebrate the modernization of this chamber now, in conjunction with ECBC’s 100th anniversary.

“This represents the future of ECBC, the Army and our nation’s defense.”

The Chemical Agent and Explosives Chamber is one of several infrastructure assets operated by ECBC that provide full life-cycle support to chemical and biological protection, detection and monitoring activities for the U.S. military’s chemical and biological defense program.

Other unique facilities include the Advanced Chemistry Laboratory, designed for experiments using the most toxic compounds known to man; and the Non-Traditional Agent Defense Test System, a collection of specialized chambers designed to simulate operational conditions most relevant to today’s battlefield.

ECBC is a U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command laboratory and is the U.S. Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. ECBC has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the Armed Forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service.

By Edgewood Chemical Biological Center