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 later. 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

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

 

Gathering Energetic Material Properties

TSO(s)

Materials Technology

Description

MSIAC has prepared a reference for the IM modelling 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 primary materials of interest. The project is divided into two tasks. The first will be to identify the materials (on the order of 10 to 20 materials) for which parameters would be most useful within the community. The second task 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.

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 11,000 munition related accident reports from contributing nations. The list of accidents is updated on a regular basis.

However, there are 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 modelling and inverse blast analysis.

Benefits

· Extension of the accident database MADx

· Compile more detailed information on accidents

· Improved understanding and insight into 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

 

Defect Detection and Characterization Capability Study for Energetic Materials

TSO(s)

Warhead Technology/Propulsion Technology

Description

To generate an in-depth review of the literature, process and equipment capability regarding the detection and characterization of production defects in energetic material. This task would involve helping prepare background information and technical reports on destructive and non-destructive methodologies for the detection and characterization of voids, cracks, foreign material and other potential production flaws occurring as a result of explosives and propellants production processes. Associated detection and characterization equipment could include radiography, acoustic, mechanical and laser cutting methods. 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 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 of 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

Probabilistic Initiation Models for Energetic Materials

TSO(s)

Warhead Technology/Safety of Ammunition Storage and Transport

Description

Work with state of the art probability tools and analytic explosive initiation models for the prediction of munitions probabilistic initiation response. The project incorporates the matching of existing pressure history curves from impact variation modeling using one dimensional continuum mechanics modeling. State of the art probability tools will be subsequently used for variational impact conditions using analytic explosive initiation models. The result is a probabilistic computation of munitions initiation response.

Benefits

· Exposure to probability mathematics and state of the art tools

· Establishing a network of contacts with experts

· Experience in how technical progress is made through the integration of technical information

· Improved understanding of explosives initiation physics and initiation modelling

· Improved understanding of explosives and munitions testing

Details

This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

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

Novel Properties enabled by innovative Processing Techniques

TSO(s)

Propulsion Technology / Materials Technology

Description

Common and well-known processing technologies used for decades to manufacture energetic materials include the following: mixer, extruder, press, and twin-screw extruder. In the recent past, innovative processing technologies have emerged, such as single screw extruders, co-extrusion, Resonant Acoustic Mixing or additive manufacturing (3D printing). Different properties are then expected for the energetic compounds manufactured by these novel processing techniques.

The student will first have to collect up to date information and data about innovative processing technology and their consecutive influence on energetic materials properties. The second task will be to extrapolate the possible gains in materials properties thanks to these techniques and how they could benefit the IM and munitions safety communities.

Benefits

· Exposure to information regarding the state of the art in processing technologies

· Understanding of relationship between processing and materials properties

· Establish network of contacts with experts from the nations

· Proposal of new perspectives to the IM community

Details

This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period

Mitigation Technologies for Warheads

TSO(s)

Warhead Technology / Propulsion Technology

Description

To reduce the explosive response of munitions to Insensitive Munitions threats, several mitigation technologies are used. The topic will focus on mitigation technologies available for warheads: Passive venting device, active venting device, coatings…

The project will focus on searching technologies and will review the policy on active and passive mitigation technologies.

The output will be a report providing:

• An overview of the technologies with their detail description and their current use.

• Recommendations on design safety and safety testing related to active and passive mitigation device

In addition, new technologies will be entered in the MSIAC database dedicated to mitigation techniques.

Benefits

· Exposure to information regarding the state of the art in processing technologies

· Understanding of relationship between processing and materials properties

· Establish network of contacts with experts from the nations

· Proposal of new perspectives to the IM community

Details

This project would best suit an intern/student for an 8-12 week period