O-171 Changes to NATO IM Policy and Full-Scale Testing Documents

December 2016

International policy, guidance, protocols and assessment on Insensitive Munitions are mandated or discussed and detailed in NATO policy documents.  NATO policy is currently mandated in STANAG 4439, Policy for the Introduction and Assessment of Insensitive Munitions (IM), currently at Edition 3 promulgated on 14 March 2010.  STANAG 4439 has been updated twice since the last IM full-scale test STANAG was promulgated on 13 December 2006.  As a result, a degree of incoherency has developed between the policy in STANAG 4439 and the full-scale test STANAGs with each Edition of the documents.  For example Edition 3 of AOP-39, implemented by STANAG 4439, contains updated requirements and guidance for the conduct of all full-scale tests but these are often overlooked due to the lack of reference to these additional requirements from the full-scale test STANAGs. 

Under direction of the NATO CNAD Ammunition Safety Group, a number of Capability Working Groups have been reviewing and updating NATO full-scale test STANAGs and STANAG 4439.  Working Groups have completed reviews of the Bullet Attack, Fast Heating and Shaped Charge Jet full-scale test STANAGs.  There have been some changes to Test requirements for these Threats and a change in the structure of the documents with the creation of AOPs for each full-scale test.  A review is also being undertaken of the Response Descriptors in AOP-39 to address any concerns identified with the content during assessment.  This review is also addressing issues in interpretation of the requirements and national approaches in the assessment process as well as assessment criteria. 

In addition a review was undertaken of STANAG 4439 and the full-scale test STANAGs to recommend options for rebalancing the content between these documents.  It was decided by the Custodian that a new class of NATO document, a Standards Related Document (SRD), would be produced to support STANAG 4439 and by inference AOP-39.  This SRD will contain guidance on all aspects of conduct of full-scale test to support all the full-scale test documents and the requirements they contain.  In addition all the full-scale test s documents are being developed to a consistent structure and content. 

These documents set the benchmarks for testing and assessment of vulnerability and underpin all the achievements and ongoing efforts in reducing the vulnerability of munitions.  This paper provides an update on the work undertaken to date in revising and developing NATO testing and assessment policy and introduces the new supporting document structure and content.  

Contact us for more information: 

Matthew Ferran
United Kingdom
+32 2 707 55 58
Author(s): 
  • Martin Pope
  • Florian Pechoux