Sun, Jul

Part #2: What goes BOOM & Why - Explosions in the Lake Hopatcong Area

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This second article focuses on the Picatinny Arsenal as a source of explosions that are heard and felt by residents near the Lake Hopatcong area.

Hopatcong Lake Regional News reached out to Picatinny Arsenal and received a response back from Tim Rider, Public Affairs Specialist at the base.

Source of the Explosions:

Picatinny Arsenal In1Picatinny Arsenal is the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. Picatinny states, “We are a unique facility that is vital to our nation – there is no government or industry counterpart with our capabilities.”

Picatinny Arsenal is located off Route 15 just two-miles from Lake Hopatcong on the eastern shore in both Jefferson and Rockaway Township in Morris County. Which is once again, close enough for residents to hear and possibly feel any large explosions.

What is Really Happening:

Picatinny Arsenal In2Video of Picatinny testing as reported by CBSNoise disturbances from Picatinny are generally caused when we conduct quality testing of cannon ammunition or other items. In some cases, noise disturbances are caused by experiments that are necessary to deliver reliable and cutting-edge technologies to our Soldiers.

Reliable armaments are absolutely critical to our Soldiers. Our testing at Picatinny plays a crucial role in ensuring our Soldiers have cutting-edge, reliable ammunition, which can make the difference between life and death on the battlefield.

Testing is performed Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. They don't test on holidays or weekends or beyond those hours without sending out a notification to surrounding municipalities.

Pre Notifications are NOT available:

According to Picatinny Arsenal, “We do not publish our testing schedules. Since our weapons tests can affect the availability of munitions for military operations, we maintain schedule flexibility in order to best achieve our mission, meet test validation requirements, manage testing resources and ensure safety.

Also, the vast majority of our tests go un-noticed in the surrounding communities -- and we test on a nearly daily basis -- so a published schedule would not provide an accurate indication of when our tests will cause disturbances in the surrounding communities. If we become aware, and if mission and safety permits, we will adjust our testing to minimize noise disturbances in the surrounding communities either by reducing the frequency of our tests our conducting the tests when meteorological conditions provide a lesser conduit for noise travel. Humidity, rain, barometric pressure the presence of temperature inversion layers, wind speed and direction are some of the weather-related factors that help or hinder sound travel.”

We do not have an automated system, as it would be impractical for the reasons described above.

Note: Picatinny Arsenal has agreed to add Hopatcong Lake Regional News to the list of municipalities that are notified in extreme cases, and we’ll post the information when available.

About Picatinny Arsenal

Picatinny Arsenal is an American military research and manufacturing facility located on 6,400 acres of land in Jefferson and Rockaway Township in Morris County.

Picatinny Arsenal is the Joint Center of Excellence for Guns and Ammunition, providing products and services to all branches of the U.S. military. Nestled in the northern New Jersey Highlands, our team of more than 6,000 personnel includes Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, U.S. Federal employees and contractor personnel who lead in the research, development, acquisition and lifecycle management of advanced conventional weapon systems and ammunition. Picatinny's portfolio comprises nearly 90 percent of the Army's lethality and all conventional ammunition for joint warfighters.

Examples of our products include:

  • IED Defeat technologies
  • Small, medium and large caliber conventional ammunition
  • Precision-guided munitions
  • Mortars
  • Fire control systems
  • Small-arms weapon systems
  • Howitzers
  • Gunner protection armor
  • Warheads
  • Fuzes
  • Insensitive munitions

Picatinny has more than 1,010 permanent structures, including 64 laboratories, situated on the installation's nearly 6,500 acres. As one of the largest employers in Morris County, we employ approximately 5,000 civilians, 160 military personnel and 1,000 contractors. Approximately one-third of these employees are engineers and scientists.


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