Munitions Health Management Initiative Kicks Off

The NATO Smart Defence Initiative on the subject of Integrated Munitions Health Management (IMHM) officially began its work in April.  The Initiative’s first meeting, a workshop chaired by the UK and supported by MSIAC, convened around 30 representatives from 12 participating nations seeking to provide a definitive guide to the intelligent management of munitions’ health.

A confluence of improved technologies in recent years, including sensors, batteries, data storage, networking, age modeling, and data analysis, has enabled a revolution in capability for Alliance Nations’ munitions personnel.  When applied to life-cycle management, logistics, ageing, safety assessment, and other activities in the munitions area, these new technologies are creating opportunities for cost savings, increased lifecycle, and improved safety.  Hence personnel within the technical and policy communities of the participating Nations have partnered through NATO to assist in aligning activities with technology development, ensure compatibility with acquisition requirements, facilitate tight integration with logistics procedures, and increase the Alliance’s capability and interoperability in the long term.

The workshop, chaired by Mr. Grant Milne of the UK Defence Ordnance Safety Group, was supported by MSIAC’s Emmanuel Schultz (TSO Propulsion) and Wade Babcock (TSO Materials Science).  Mr. Schultz and Mr. Babcock supported the technical content development for the workshop, and are documenting the results.  Mr. Milne drove the technical contributions of the participants, and will organize their future contributions to meet the scope of the Smart Defence Initiative.

The primary output of this two-year Initiative will be a guide document that provides Nations interested in pursuing IMHM with examples, frameworks, and methods to implement the technologies.  As facets of the technology are in various states of very rapid development, the intent is not to provide proscriptive standards.  Instead, the initiative’s output will assist National practitioners and policy makers to establish approaches that meet national needs, while taking advantage of international experience and ensuring interoperability.

National representatives spent the first day of this workshop sharing current practices in munitions health management across the participating nations, and identifying the common areas that require standardization and guidance.  The second day was devoted to discussions of specific technical achievements, identifying national interests, and application of a standard cost/benefit analysis framework.  The third day of the workshop was spent discussing the detailed goals of the initiative, and the work and roles required to achieve these goals.

The workshop achieved its goals of a thorough understanding of the scope for the IMHM Initiative, capturing national requirements and concerns, and defining participant Nations’ roles and assigned tasks.  Further, the groundwork was laid to achieve the goals of the IMHM Smart Defence Initiative over the next two years.

The DOSG and MSIAC team want to extend our thanks to the participants in this workshop for their contributions of technical content, time to attend, and commitments to the completion and success of the IMHM Initiative.  Specifically, we would like to thank Mr. Albert Bouma of the Netherlands Defence Ministry, for his efforts organizing the location and visit details for the participants.  We would also like to extend our thanks generally to the Kromhout Kazerne Netherlands Military office complex in Utrecht, Netherlands. This was a very good location to host a meeting, with excellent meeting space and coffee to keep us going.