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The Testing of Aerial Spray Equipment, and Ecological Impacts of the Programs at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

  • Alvin L. Young
Chapter

The training of the aircrews, the development of the interface between the aircraft and the spray equipment, and the test and evaluation of the entire aerial spray system was the responsibility of the Air Development Test Center (ADTC) at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. For ten years (1961–1971), Eglin AFB provided the scientific and technical support for the RANCH HAND mission in Vietnam. It was of utmost importance in the development of the aerial spray systems that the equipment be tested under the most realistic conditions possible. An array of test grids (on Test Area C-52A) was developed where the aircraft and equipment could be monitored and evaluated in the field. Moreover, a decision was made that the equipment would be tested using the tactical herbicides that were deployed for use in Vietnam. The goal was not to test the effectiveness of the herbicides, but rather the effectiveness of the equipment in disseminating a concentration of a tactical herbicide determined to be at the “minimum biologically effective ground deposition level.” This chapter is devoted to describing the test programs on Test Area C-52A, Eglin AFB, Florida, and the subsequent studies conducted on the soil persistence, environmental fate, and ecological impact of the tactical herbicides disseminated in the course of developing the aerial spray systems deployed in Vietnam. Very little information was known about the toxicity or environmental persistence of the dioxin contaminant, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), in Agent Orange prior to the late 1969. Thus, the test programs at Eglin AFB involving 2,4,5-T herbicide were conducted in the belief that the herbicide was “essentially” non-toxic and of little ecological concern.

Keywords

Test Area Spray System Test Grid Herbicide Residue Spray Equipment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CheyenneUSA

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