L-073 If Saddam or Milosevic were to have had Insensitive Munitions (Learning from modern conflicts)

May 2001
Frédéric Peugeot (Detonics and Ballistics)

The French Chief of Defence, General Kelche, recently quoted [1]: "What I require from technology is that it delivers significant military advantages for French, European or Allied forces. These advantages can be assessed by examining whether they are sufficient to facilitate the decision to deploy troops with a reasoned and reasonable level of risk. (...) For example, technology can confer a level of protection on forces that limit losses, thereby facilitating the deployment decision in the first place. Moreover, since the frailty of a coalition force during joint operations is dependent on the level of losses, technology can help by providing a route to increased durability on the battlefield due to an increased survivability. Therefore, military technological superiority can also help to better support a political position."

Following this statement, one might wonder if Insensitive Munitions (IM) could be considered as a technology providing significant advantages in terms of the definition above. That is to say, do they provide an increased level of protection and therefore a better survivability capacity to own forces and a way to support a political position?

Looking at the IM definition in STANAG 4439 - "Policy for development and assessment of Insensitive Munitions (MURAT)" -, there is no direct mention of this: "Munitions which reliably fulfil their performance, readiness and operational requirements on demand, but which minimise the probability of inadvertent initiation and severity of subsequent collateral damage to weapon platforms, logistic systems and personnel when subjected to unplanned stimuli" (Fast Heating, Slow Heating, Bullet impact, Sympathetic Reaction, Light Fragment Impact and Shaped Charge Jet Impact).

The purposes of this paper are to identify expected benefit(s) from the use of Insensitive Munitions and to answer the question: are IM providing significant advantages according to the above definition? This is accomplished by investigating battle damage assessments of recent modern conflicts (Desert Storm, Desert Fox and Kosovo operations), and making the assumptions that Allied Forces have IM or Enemy have IM.