[CLASSIFIED] Indiana’s VX Nerve Gas Factory [CLASSIFIED]

The adrenaline-overkill action of 1996’s ‘The Rock’ made it a blockbuster hit, but the real star of the movie wasn’t Sean Connery or Nicholas Cage. It was that dangling string of green orbs that contained VX Nerve Gas. The plot of ‘The Rock’ was beyond absurd, but despite this, VX Nerve Gas was and is 100% real.

And was once made entirely in Indiana…



First, the VX nerve agent (the VX stands for “venomous agent X”) portrayed in the movie isn’t 100% correct. It doesn’t melt faces, for one. It kills through asphyxiation. Secondly, an injection to counteract the effects of VX doesn’t require a needle in the heart. In the butt is just fine.

But it is just as lethal as portrayed in the film and, sadly, could be particularly dangerous to a large population. How lethal? Think of a normal eyedropper. Two tiny drops of VX nerve agent on bare skin from that dropper (about 10 mg) would be fatal to most people.

What does that have to do with Indiana? About thirty minutes north of Terre Haute sits the rusting shell of what was one of the country’s largest munitions factories: the Newport Chemical Depot.



During World War II and the Korean War, the plant manufactured the explosive RDX, frequently used by American troops overseas (a version was called “Composition B”). Until the early 1960s, it chiefly manufactured the heavy water used in the American nuclear program.

1996’S THE ROCK (from Buena Vista Pictures)

By 1961, when the futility of the nuclear arms race became apparent, attention shifted to other modes of clandestine warfare, namely nerve gas. Like nuclear weapons, the United States had no intention of dispersing nerve agent, but like nuclear weapons, had to pursue a policy of deterrence and mutual destruction. If other countries had it, we had to have it, and Indiana’s Newport Chemical Depot made it. Specifically, the horrific and effective VX nerve agent.

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