By Édouard Dufour, Adsum Newspaper
Valcartier, Quebec — An exploding grenade can propel deadly steel fragments nearly 300 metres. Thanks to the new Athena range, officially opened in September 2018, soldiers at 2nd Canadian Division Support Base (2 CDSB) Valcartier can now practice their grenade handling proficiency with optimum effectiveness.
Candidates on the DP1 Infantry course at the 2nd Canadian Division Training Centre (2 CDTC) were the first to use the new grenade range in the course of their training.
Demonstrating a high level of attention and meticulously following their instructor’s safety instructions, the young military members dummy grenades before moving on to real ones.
The range supports C13, M61 and M67 grenades. It also supports the practice M69 grenade.
After more than a year’s wait, troops can now use the new facility. The new range has four open-air grenade bays and two more for observation. A control tower overlooks the entire operation. The range is equipped with a heating system and a motion detector.
Captain Bruno Talbot, Operations Officer with the Ranges and Training Areas at Valcartier, explained that the range shelters are made of “a hybrid mix of reinforced concrete and pressure-treated wood,” which creates a safe barrier for those stationed there. The various observation bays and their windows are constructed of shatterproof polycarbonate and acrylic materials.
Interesting fact: even though they form a solid whole when assembled, the building’s components can be easily dismantled and replaced over time. CaptTalbot said that a “minimum of some 50 years” could go by before any repair work is needed.
Capt Talbot noted that the range does not generate any emissions because all explosive chemical residues from the detonation of grenades are contained in an activated carbon filter.
The new Athena range is located in the training area, while its predecessor, the Vaucelle, was located near 2 CDSB’s Centre Castor golf course. Capt Talbot said that the new location will facilitate “control, safety and access to the range,” while “reducing noise emissions” that may disturb the civilian population.
After close to 40 years in service, the Vaucelle grenade range will be taken down. A comprehensive demolition and decontamination process will soon begin. Once this work, expected to take a number of months, is complete, the former Vaucelle site will be home to new projects.