MSIAC Interns & Trainees

MSIAC has opportunities for member nation’s personnel who have completed or are completing a technical degree related to munitions engineering and safety and the intention to enter government or industry. For people in-between years at university or engineering school, placements can be 8 weeks or longer after completing a technical degree or Masters level degree.

Depending on the support provided by his or her nation, interns and students may be eligible for financial support to cover accommodation and expenses whilst living in Brussels. Every Intern or student will be assigned a project suitable for completion within the time available, some examples are detailed below. A placement also provides an opportunity to work with the Technical Specialist Officers at MSIAC to gain knowledge from their expertise and get a wider view of the munitions world and safety management and policy in an International organisation.

To allow time for NATO security clearance, applications for internships in Summer time must be submitted by the end of December of the previous year.

If you are interested in applying, please forward your information to info@msiac.nato.int or d.vanoverstraeten@msiac.nato.int

Testimonials

Florian DJEDIS - Intern summer 2019

I am currently a Military student at ENSTA Bretagne, a French engineering school located in Brest, studying pyrotechnics and detonics.

In 2019, between my second and third year, I did a summer internship of 3 months at Munitions Safety Information Analysis Center (MSIAC) in the NATO headquarters in Brussels. I worked on the subject “Collation and Analysis of IM test” under the supervision of Martijn Van der Voort (TSO in Munitions Safety, Transport & Storage) and Christelle Collet (TSO in Propulsion Technology)

The main task during my internship was to build a tool that calculates the TNT equivalency for sub-detonative event. The underlying reason for this tool was to help review the safety distance for insensitive munitions and also to correlate the response type to the TNT equivalency. To this end a questionnaire was sent by MSIAC asking the member nations to share their tests data on IM in order to carry a more complete analysis² with this tool.

To complete my project, I had full access to all MSIAC resources which helped me to gain a better sense of research and analysis. The knowledge about insensitive munitions, blast study and visual Basics (excel language) will be very useful for my third year at schools and also for my professional life. I also made a lot of progress in English.

Working in intercultural team and with specialists from different countries was also a great development opportunity.

I highly recommend choosing MSIAC for your next internship!

Aurihona WOLFF - Long term intern 2018 - 2019

I am currently studying pyrotechnics and detonics at ENSTA Bretagne, a French Engineering School. I had a gap year between my second and third year in which I did an eleven-month internship at MSIAC under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Andrews (TSO in Energetic Materials) and Christelle Collet (TSO in Propulsion Technology).

I had the opportunity to work on many subjects. The first one was on novel processing technologies applied to high explosives and propellants. I first reviewed the most common processes (extrusion, pressing, casting…) and identified the most promising ones: Resonant Acoustic Mixing (RAM) and Additive Manufacturing. I had the opportunity to go to Cranfield Defense Academy to see the RAM working and be able to discuss its technology with professors and PhD students who were also studying it. I also visited TNO’s facilities where I saw 3D-printed propellants. My tutors also encouraged me to present my work at a conference for the first time of my life. Then I actively worked on the preparation of the 2020 Defect Workshop by establishing a classification and a glossary of anomalies with the help of Kevin Jaansalu (TSO in Materials Technology). Finally, my last subject was on a totally different aspect of munitions. I worked on mitigation technologies for small calibre munitions and flares, and I populated the MTM database with examples. It taught me a lot on Insensitive Munitions.

As you can guess by reading this short summary, I learnt a lot during this internship! I improved my English, my presentation skills and my knowledge on munitions. I was surrounded by very skilled TSOs who taught me a lot, they pushed me to present my work at a conference and organized trip visits outside NATO: at TNO in the Netherlands, at Cranfield Defense Academy, at Brunel’s University of London and at École Royale Militaire. It was a very exciting and amazing internship! The MSIAC team is very caring and the city of Brussels is absolutely lovely. I enjoyed every moment I spent there. I really highly recommend doing a long-term internship at MSIAC!

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Pierre-Antoine PREVOT – Intern summer 2018

I am currently a civilian student at ENSTA Bretagne, a French engineering school located in Brest, studying pyrotechnics and detonics.

In 2018, between my second and third year, I did a summer internship of 3 months at Munitions Safety Information Analysis Center (MSIAC) in the NATO headquarters in Brussels. I worked on the subject “Mitigation technologies for warheads” under the supervision of Christelle Collet (TSO for Propulsion Technology) and Dr. Ernest Baker (TSO for Warheads).

The main work during my internship was to create a report about mitigation technologies for warheads in order to provide an overview of these technologies. That is why I had to acquire knowledge about munitions safety, insensitive munitions and warheads at the beginning of the internship. Alongside the report, I also completed an Excel transfer spreadsheet that will be useful to populate the MSIAC database on mitigation technologies called MTM. I was also in charge of adding new examples of mitigation technologies directly into the MTM database.

To complete my project, I had full access to all MSIAC resources which helped me to gain a better sense of research and analysis. The knowledge about insensitive munitions and warheads I acquired will be very useful for my third year and my future professional life. I also made lots of progress in English, both in speaking and writing.

Working in intercultural team and with specialists from different countries was also a great development opportunity.

I highly recommend to choose MSIAC for your next internship!

Adrien LEROY - Intern summer 2017 

I am Adrien LEROY, a civilian student at ENSTA Bretagne, a French engineering school run by the Ministry of Defence. I am in my third year, in which I study Energetic Materials and Detonics.

During summer 2017, I did a three months’ internship at MSIAC (Munitions Safety Information Analysis Center) in Brussels. I worked on Hazard Classification under the guidance of Martijn van der Voort, TSO for Munition Safety, Transport and Storage.

The purpose of my internship was to make recommendations for the future MSIAC Hazard Classification Database (MHCDx). First, I worked on the countries databases. I made an overview of the information available in each database. After this, I performed an analysis of these databases. For example, I focused on HC assessment by nations, or correlations between HC and Compatibility Groups.  Then, I focused on differences in classification. I found military articles in different nations with a difference in HC. Using the work I realized on the separate databases, I could make recommendations for the future MSIAC database. This database will contain all the nations data in a standardized format to ease researching and warn countries in case of defective ammunitions. This project enabled me to work in an international environment. I made a lot of progresses in English, especially in speaking and writing. I learnt many things on munitions safety and hazard classification. It’s actually really useful to begin my third year. I had the chance to visit the ammunition testing facilities of the WTD 91 in Meppen (Germany), and the Institut des Poudres et Explosifs (IPE) at Balard, in Paris (France). I don’t mention all the people I met and I learnt from.

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work in a specialized environment in munitions safety like MSIAC. Indeed, I met skilled people who helped me to progress and I learnt a lot concerning ammunitions regulations, energetic material etc. I could develop my cultural background by working and exchanging with the MSIAC members (that come from different countries). Brussels is an amazing city, with a lot of things to do. There, I developed my singing skill!

I would like to thank all the MSIAC team. I won’t forget this amazing experience.  

Maxime Voisin – Intern summer 2016

“I am currently a military student at ENSTA Bretagne, a French engineering school based in Brest, France. At the end of my third year, I will graduate with a Masters Degree of Engineering in Mechanics, specialized in Energetic Materials and Detonics, after which I will work for the French Procurement Agency (la Direction générale de l’Armement).

During the 2016 summer, after my second year, I performed a twelve-week internship at MSIAC. During these three months, I had the opportunity to discover a lot about energetic materials and especially munitions safety. It was also the chance to work with international experts in all fields of munitions safety.

I worked on critical diameters with the Energetic Materials and the Warhead Technology technical specialists. Indeed every new munition needs to be tested before being used by the military forces according to the NATO AOP-7. To properly perform these tests the critical diameter should be known. The propagation of a steady state detonation in an unconfined cylindrical explosive will only occur if its diameter is larger than a certain diameter, called the critical diameter. The latter depends on the nature, the composition and the density of the tested material. However testing the explosives or propellants can be expensive and a very long process, so it is important for MSIAC nations to have the best and easiest way to estimate the critical diameter of an energetic material. So during the first month, I first reviewed all critical diameter testing procedures and created my first report on the subject. And for the remaining time, I conducted analysis and correlations to properties of interest for munitions safety. This resulted in correlations that will be used for the estimation of the critical diameter and thus reduce the time and money required to determine the critical diameter by testing.

This internship was really helpful for my future professional work. It was my first researching work, so I learned a lot about planning, research and organization. Moreover, working in this international environment with British, American, Dutch, Belgium and French people, exposed me to many different cultures and I especially improved my English by reading, speaking and writing in English on a daily basis.

In conclusion, I really want to thank the MSIAC team for welcoming and hosting us in this internship.”

Julien Hueber – Intern summer 2014

“Currently a French military student at the French Engineering School ENSTA Bretagne, based in Brest (France), I did a two months internship at MSIAC, NATO, in Brussels summer 2014. While at MSIAC I did an 8 weeks project on environmental testing facilities. My main goal was to create a catalogue of facilities (either public organizations or private firms) able to perform environmental tests on munitions. In order to succeed, I had to develop my knowledge in the general high explosive field. Besides this, the internship really taught me skills about the environmental tests, both standard and test procedures that have to be done for every kind of munitions (surface launch, underwater, etc). Moreover, during this internship, I contacted a lot of people and organizations all around the world. This allowed me to have an overview of the various range of firms and organizations working within the high explosive field. After these two months, my main output was the creation of an environmental catalogue with almost 25 answers from a wide range of stakeholders.

I am now completing my last year of a Masters Degree. After which, I will work at the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement), the French Department for Armament, and will certainly use this experience in my future work. The internship was a huge opportunity to work with experts in an international context and learn relevant skills in the high explosive field. I would like to thank warmly all the members of MSIAC for their patience and the time they spent to explain their fields of specialization to me.”

Florian AUDIGIER - Intern summer 2014

"I was a French civilian student from the engineering School ENSTA Bretagne, based in Brest (France), which belongs to the DGA (Direction Générale de l'Armement). This school gathers military and civilian students from all parts of France, based on the results of a national entrance exam.

I was in the 2nd year of engineering classes, and at the end of the 3rd year I would graduate with a Masters Degree in Engineering in Mechanics, specialized in Detonics. I did an 8-week internship at the Munitions Safety Information Analysis Centre (MSIAC), of which the main field of experience perfectly matches my speciality.

Energetic materials and articles assigned to the Hazard Division (HD) 1.3 according to the UN Standard Classification Procedure have a well-known response to hazardous situations in typical transport conditions. However, they are also known for having been involved in accidents of which the scale is far beyond expectation, as HD 1.3 reacted more violently than expected in storage conditions, detonating instead of burning.

I first reviewed the UN Standards showing a misuse of the HD classification for storage consideration, while they are designed for transport only. Moreover, even the UN Test Series that lead to assigning the HD 1.3, do not take into account all the conditions which material of Class 1 could face. Secondly, using data of accident reports, an empirical approach of the features of hazardous events highlights that storage parameters such as confinement, layout, vent and density of loading might worsen the consequences of accidental events. This results in recommendations for safer storage of HD 1.3 materials.

Furthermore, my internship at MSIAC was my first professional experience in the field of munitions. I was in contact with experts in Energetic Materials, Propulsion Technology, Munitions Systems, Warhead Technology and Munitions Safety on a daily basis. It was new way to look at my field of specialization and learn more from the experts without being overwhelmed, and this at my own pace in accordance with my own inquisitiveness. I especially learned a lot about materials of Hazard Division 1.3, and the associated storage policies. This perfectly matched my expectations to work, in a future career, in a field dealing with reaction of Energetic Materials, as I would like to, and to work on designing warheads which requires an understanding of how Energetic Materials behave.

The knowledge gathered during this two months will benefit my professional and personal life. I can assume that I now have a comprehensive knowledge of HD 1.3 materials and a large knowledge in the field of munitions. Similarly, thanks to my personal project, I had henceforth an overview of the standardized tests that could be carried out on materials to determine their level of reaction.

Regarding the international traineeship at MSIAC, it was a perfect opportunity to improve both my formal written and spoken English in a professional workplace, and my fluentness in casual exchanges. These skills are slowly becoming compulsory in a globalized and international context of advanced fields of technology such as munitions. It was also an opportunity to learn about British and American culture, which helps understand the similarities and differences between France, UK and the USA. This will be a relevant skill when it will be time to deal with counterparts from these countries."

 

Prospective Projects

Nr Topic Area of Expertise
1 Gathering Energetic Material Properties Materials Technology
2 Accident Investigations Safety of Ammunition Storage and Transport
3 Energetic Materials and Insensitive Munitions Databases Energetic Materials / Warhead Technology
4 TNT Replacement Fills Energetic Materials
5 Compatibility Database Energetic Materials
6 Instrumentation Techniques Propulsion Technology
7 Collation and Analysis of IM Tests Safety of Ammunition Storage and Transport
8 Improving the MSIAC Gap Test computational tool and database Warheads Technology / Energetic Materials
9 Property Mixing Rules for Energetic Material Formulations Materials Technology
10 Defects: Causes, Classification and Criticality Munition Systems

 

Gathering Energetic Material Properties
TSO(s) Materials Technology
Description
 
MSIAC has prepared a reference for the IM modeling community which lists the characterization parameters needed for materials which are included in typical munition response computational simulations.  The guide defines these parameters and provides example testing/analysis methods to obtain the parameters.
The student will begin the process of populating a database of these parameters for about 10 materials of primary interest.  The project is divided into two tasks.  The first will be to scour resources at MSIAC, within national communities, technical literature, and other resources, for information on these selected materials, and populate the required parameters with values gleaned from vetted data. The second will be then to examine possible strategies to test the self-consistency of the data. 
Benefits
To the Student:
  • Research and insight into munition materials and properties
  • Extend and distribute munitions community knowledge
  • Experience how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information
  • Establish a network of expert contacts
To MSIAC:
  • Down-select most-needed materials based on community input
  • Establish baseline data population for future MSIAC tool
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Accident Investigations
TSO(s) Safety of Ammunition Storage and Transport
Description
MSIAC has developed the accident database MADx, which allows easy searching in over 14,500 munitions related accident reports from contributing nations. The list of accidents is updated on a regular basis.
There are however multiple sources of information that would make a great addition to MADx, but that are currently not exploited. This deals with both accidents that are not yet covered in the database and accident reports that are more detailed than those already included.
This project is divided into two tasks. The first will be to extract data from various sources and populate MADx. The second task will be based on selected accidents for a more detailed investigation, if possible including some modeling and inverse blast analysis.
Benefits
  • Extension of the accident database MADx
  • Compile more detailed information on accidents
  • Improved understanding and insight in the cause and magnitude of a number of selected accidents
  • Establishing a network of contacts with experts
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Energetic Materials and Insensitive Munitions Databases
TSO(s) Energetic Materials / Warhead Technology
Description

This research placement will be to read, assimilate and process recent symposiums to extract current state of the art explosive fills and munition response to IM threats. This information will be added to MSIAC databases such as the Energetic Materials Compendium (EMC) and Advanced IM Search (AIMS), which are used as a valuable resource by the MSIAC nations’ community. Topics or themes of interest to the student can be selected to focus the work. Topics or interest can be suggested by the student. 

Benefits
  • Exposure to information regarding the state of the art munition fills
  • Understanding of test procedures, qualification data and trends associated with energetic material and compositions
  • Understanding of IM testing and qualification
  • Establish network of contacts with experts from the nations
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period. The placement would be beneficial to someone with a chemistry, chemical, testing and/or engineering background

TNT Replacement Fills
TSO(s) Energetic Materials
Description
A number of melt cast explosives are being fielded as replacements for TNT in artillery systems.
The project will select two melt castable energetic materials, e.g. DNAN and DNP, review their properties and make a direct comparison to TNT.
Topics of the review will include physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the base material and any proposed formulations based on the energetic ‘binder’. Other aspects of the project will identify any issues across the life cycle such as toxicity, disposal etc. The task will include reviewing a wide range of literature and generating a report with recommendations to the community.
Benefits
  • Establish network of contacts with experts from the nations
  • Increased understanding of munition safety
  • Increased understanding of energetic materials and their requirements
  • Exposure to AC/326 process
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Compatibility Database
TSO(s) Energetic Materials  
Description
Energetic material compatibility testing is the test to ensure safety and suitability of the material within a munition. STANAG 4147 provides the methods by which the testing must be carried out but little data is shared between nations on this critical topic.
This research placement will be to understand the key tests and materials used in compatibility assessment. Based on this research the intern will build a database of test results for key materials. This will involve searching the open literature and interrogating the MSIAC. There will be an opportunity to engage with NATO members through the development of a questionnaire to collate datasets. 
Benefits
  • Exposure to test requirements
  • Establishing a network of contacts with experts
  • Experience in how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information
  • Improved understanding of energetic materials and munitions production processes
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Instrumentation Techniques
TSO(s) Propulsion Technology  
Description
Testing of energetic materials or munition systems requires a specific instrumentation in order to properly record the targeted data with an acceptable uncertainty. This study will be focused on instrumentation related to the characterization of thermal effects. The student will have to gather elements in the open literature concerning:
  • Heat flux sensors and thermocouples
  • Amplifiers / conditioners
  • Acquisition systems
The student will then have to sum up the findings in a comprehensive report highlighting the pros and cons for the electronic devices, the uncertainty, ease of use, range of validity, best practices…
Benefits
  • Exposure to information regarding the state of the art in temperature and heat flux measurements
  • Contribute to a more general guidance on instrumentation for Insensitive Munitions and Hazard Classification Tests
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Collation and Analysis of IM Tests
TSO(s) Safety of Ammunition Storage and Transport  
Description
In IM tests, measurement of blast and fragmentation are conducted in order to determine the munition response. The same data could also be beneficial to inform the development of appropriate safety distances and consequence/risk analysis. To date, the data has not been consistently exploited for this purpose. At the recently held IEMRM workshop it was concluded that especially for munition responses deflagration (type IV) and explosion (type III) a good overview of the lower and upper limits of blast and fragmentation hazards is missing.
The student will conduct the following tasks:
  • Collect existing IM blast and fragmentation data from the literature
  • Request IM blast and fragmentation data from nations/test centres
  • Analyse fragment and blast data with a previously developed TNT equivalency tool, and compare with safety distances and consequence/risk models
  • Make recommendations for safety distances and consequence/risk analysis of IM
  • Compile the data and write a report
Benefits
  • Better understanding of explosive effects typical for IM response types. Provide input for safety distances and consequence/risk analysis of IM. This will help realize benefits of IM.
  • Provide recommendations for IM tests and further validation of models
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Improving the MSIAC Gap Test computational tool and database
TSO(s) Warheads Technology / Energetic Materials
Description
MSIAC maintains a gap test computational tool and database (NEWGATES) in an Excel spreadsheet format.  NEWGATES includes information about 10 gap tests (dimensions, scope, principles); pressure calibration curves; time calibration curves; shock curvature calibration curves; more than 1500 gap test results; the ability to estimate unreacted Hugoniots; and correlation relationships for the estimation of critical diameter.  This project will continue the improvement of NEWGATES.
The intern will research alternate gap test geometries and data to be added to NEWGATES.  The intern will augment NEWGATES with descriptions and data for the researched gap tests.  The intern will investigate gap test correlations between gap tests using the newly introduced gap test data.  The intern will implement predictive correlation relationships as appropriate, including a predictive capability for the original Jacobs-Roslund shock initiation impact model.
Benefits
  • Exposure to energetic test requirements
  • Establishing a network of contacts with experts
  • Experience in how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information
  • Improved understanding of energetic materials and munitions initiation physics
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Property Mixing Rules for Energetic Material Formulations
TSO(s) Materials Technology
Description
In a great many cases, the material property data for an explosive or energetic formulations have not been measured.  Estimation schemes for performance data (heats of detonation, Hugoniot etc.) have been proposed and validated but there is little or no guidance for the estimation of properties such as thermal or electrical conductivity, thermal expansion, or elastic moduli, which are required for risk analysis or modelling and simulation. 
The tasks to be accomplished to first select some basic mixing rules for one or two properties, and describe their fundamental basis for their derivation; locate test and characterization data within MSIAC technical resources to test the mixing rules; evaluate the suitability of the rules to estimate properties; and finally offer guidance as to their use.  
Benefits
To the Student:
  • Research and insight into munition materials and properties
  • Extend and distribute munitions community knowledge
  • Experience how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information
  • Establish a network of expert contacts
To MSIAC:
  • Provide guidance as to the appropriate estimation schemes on material properties and their precision
  • Improved understanding of materials behavior 
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Defects: Causes, Classification and Criticality
TSO(s) Munition Systems
Description
The aim is to generate an in depth review regarding the causes, detection and characterization of production defects in energetic material.
 
This task would involve reviewing and collating the outputs of the topics discussed during the MSIAC Defects Workshop in June 2020 to generate reports detailing the current technical understanding in the international community. The student will be more specifically involved in the preparation, attendance and write-up of one of the following areas:
  • The factors that cause defects in energetic materials and munition systems
  • Destructive and non-destructive methodologies for the detection and characterization of defects
  • The consequences of defects in energetic materials and munition systems
  • How safety related decisions regarding defects are informed.
With the help of the MSIAC staff, the student will assist in generating a summary of the outputs of the workshop as a formal written report.
 
This work will include literature review, capture and collation of comments from recognized technical experts and thorough documentation.
Benefits
  • Exposure to energetics loading and inspection state of the art
  • Establishing a network of contacts with experts
  • Experience in how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information
  • Improved understanding of energetic materials and munitions production processes
Details This project would best suit an intern/student for an 12-16 week period