L-112 Insensitive Munitions: The Effect of Ageing Upon Life Cycle Workshop - Part II - Summary and Minutes
Insensitive Munitions (IM) have been developed and gradually implemented into service over the last 25-30 years. The attainment of IM has been achieved through a systems approach involving; munition and warhead design, packaging, mitigation devices, fuzing and the implementation of new, lower vulnerability explosive formulations. New explosive formulations including polymer bonded explosives, (PBXs) and new ingredients, such as NTO, have been introduced into service.
One area, which has raised considerable interest in recent years, is examination of the effect of ageing upon the safety and suitability for service (S3) of the new explosives and explosive compositions. The effect of ageing upon the IM response of the munition system is also of great interest.
In May 2005, MSIAC held a workshop to cover this topic titled Insensitive Munitions: The Effect of Ageing Upon Life Cycle. This document provides a summary of the technical working group discussions, which formed a major part of this workshop. The major points that were identified included:
The current level of knowledge is not sufficient to say, with certainty, that ageing will not affect the IM signature of a munition.
No one country has sufficient funding to fully analyse the ageing and safety characteristics of new IM technologies the use of carefully planned and monitored international collaborations and technology demonstrator programmes may allow this fundamental knowledge to be obtained and shared more cost effectively.
Surveillance programmes will become increasingly systems specific, the selection of testing and sentencing limits within these programmes requires a fundamental understanding of ageing behaviour. There is much work that must be done to better understand the characteristics of ageing IM at the molecular, macro, and system levels.
Until IM ageing is understood at both the micro (EM) and macro (system) levels, it will be difficult to model it effectively.
MSIAC Report L-111 (MSIAC Restricted), Papers and Presentations from ageing workshop;
MSIAC Report L-113 (MSIAC Restricted), The Effect of Ageing Upon IM Performance and Weapons Safety (Literature Review).