Warhead Technology

To provide advice and expertise on Warhead Technology related munitions safety topics

Interests include relevant science and technology related to: warhead mechanics, detonics and reaction mechanisms of warheads, accidental initiation.

Current area of interest / work: 

Topics of interest include:

  • Detonation Physics and Chemistry;
  • Munition reaction mechanisms and models;
  • Energetic materials subscale testing technology;
  • Prediction of munitions response to IM threats and setback;
  • Warhead design for performance, IM and production;
  • Munitions Testing and qualification;

As the current TSO, I have interests in the following topics: Munition design and analysis; Policy, Standards, Safety, Manufacturing, Science and Technology, and Insensitive Munitions

The Warhead Technology TSO is the MSIAC point of contact for Insensitive Munitions. As such, he routinely briefs IM Policy and the technologies associated with Insensitive Munitions. This is done in close collaboration with the Energetics, Propulsion and Systems TSOs.

Current Work Elements:

5. Setback ignition;
3. Blast equivalencies;
4. Hierarchy based methodology to predict cook off;
5. Technical support for AC/326 SGB;
7. Answering technical questions


TEMPER: Toolbox of Engineering Models to Predict Explosive Reactions &
ARM: Analytic Response Models

TEMPER is an MSIAC tool that contains a library of initiation models which has not been updated for some time.  The primary TEMPER objects are grouped into four categories: stimuli, which may trigger a reaction; mitigation, the environment that may transform the initial stimulus; structures, which contain a energetic material liable to react; and models, which describe the munition reaction to a stimulus.  TEMPER has been updated to run on current Microsoft Windows platforms, but is written in the no longer supported Visual Basic 6.  ARM is a new web based MSIAC tool that is incorporating existing and new initiation models.  This work is developing ARM to replace and augment the TEMPER modeling capabilities.  Written in JavaScript, ARM is being developed to run either remotely through the web or as a stand-alone application.


Improved Understanding of Gun Launch Setback Ignition

 The premature ignition response of munitions as a result of gun launch is a complex problem that is not well understood. Setback and spin forces act upon the explosive load and can cause ignition.  This ignition is associated with explosive defects including voids, cracks and impurities.  A typical requirement of less than one ignition in one million is not actually linked to the explosive void and crack size requirements.  The introduction of new explosive materials causes further complication, as there is no proven methodology to identify quantifiably supportable explosive fault requirements, nor even a reliable ranking of explosives propensity to ignite.  Laboratory setback actuator testing is used to interrogate new explosives, but there is no clear correlation to actual gun launch premature ignitions.

This work element seeks to assist the effort to develop understanding and quantify the mechanisms of gun launch ignition such as: adiabatic heating, shearing, crystal size, ejecta, and friction; by exploiting knowledge from the wider energetic materials and warheads community.  MSIAC will seek to assist in the development of tools and understanding to compliment observation through setback actuator testing, gun launch experiments and projectile fill data.  This includes providing technical support to the NATO AC/326 SG/A Gun Launch Setback Ignition Study Working Group.


Blast Equivalency Characterization of Energetic Materials

Methodologies and applicability of energetic materials blast equivalencies are not well understood.  This is particularly true for propellant and pyrotechnic compositions. It is therefore the aim of this project to gather information on blast equivalency testing and calculation methods; assess their applicability; and provide guidance and recommended values for a broad range of explosives, propellants and pyrotechnic materials. Key areas being addressed are:

  • Investigate and review various blast characterization testing methodologies
  • Investigate and review various blast equivalency estimation methodologies
  • Assess the applicability of the testing and estimation methods.
  • Provide guidance for safety blast calculations.
  • Provide recommended equivalency values for a broad range of explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics

The benefits to the community will be a better understanding of blast equivalencies for safety calculations.  This work has identified gaps and new testing requirements, particularly for propellants and pyrotechnics, as well as high explosives lower order responses.

Hierarchy Based Methodology to Predict Cook Off

This effort is focused on assisting the IM, energetics and modeling community in their efforts to apply a hierarchy based methodology to predict cook off.  A standard data package of instrumented slow cook off testing is being developed for distribution to the community.  This ‘Data Package’ will be used to as benchmark data set for modeling and simulation efforts.  The IM, energetics and modeling community will then apply a hierarchy based methodology to predict cook off on this shared data package.

Technical support for AC/326 SGB

Dr. Baker is provides technical support to the Slow Heating Test Custodial Working Group (SH CWG) and the Sympathetic Reaction (SH) CWG.  The SH CWG is reviewing and updating STANAG 4382 - Slow Heating, Munitions Test Procedures.  The SR CWG is reviewing and updating STANAG 4396 - Sympathetic Reaction, Munition Test Procedures.  Dr. Baker previously provided support for the updating of STANAG 4241 - Bullet Impact, Munition Test Procedures, STANAG 4526, Shaped Charge Jet, Munitions Test Procedures, STANAG 4240 – Fast Heating, Munition Test Procedures, and STANAG 4496, Fragment Impact, Munitions Test Procedures.  STANAG 4241, STANAG 4256, STANAG 4240 were promulgated in November 2018.  STANAG 4496 was promulgated in March 2019. 

Insensitive Munitions State-Of-Art (IMSOA)

Dr. Baker maintains a compendium of IM munition examples that provides a snapshot of system improvements and IM technology trends that provide benefit to the warfighter.  IMSOA contains information on over 50 systems that are at high level of maturity.  The topics are divided between Land, Sea and Air Launched Systems. The information normally provided includes the performance relative to a non‐IM variant for comparison, customers, indication of which nations have the round in service, indication of program status, IM technology, details of energetic fill, mitigation devices, design options, packaging, IM Benefits, Cost comparison IM vs. non‐IM, IM Signature, and the IM signature of round compared to non‐IM when available.

Answering Technical Questions

The TSO Warheads Technology answers technical questions from authorized individuals from MSIAC member nations.  Relevant topics are: explosion mechanics, warheads safety, modeling of warhead mechanics and IM threat, warhead accidents, insensitive munitions testing, policy and standards.