L-087 Fragment Impact Testing: NIMICS Review and Proposal - Summary

April 2002
Michael Fisher (Propulsion Technology) , Frédéric Peugeot (Warhead Technology)

One of the potential threats identified in NATO STANAG 4439, Policy for Introduction, Assessment and Testing for Insensitive Munitions, is Fragmenting Munition Attack, or Fragment Impact as it is more commonly known. Although there is a draft edition 1 of a NATO STANAG for Fragment Impact Testing, there exists today no agreed procedure for conducting such a test. Throughout the relatively short history of IM testing, individual nations, and even individual organizations within the same nation, have developed and utilized their own equipment and procedures for fragment impact testing. This has led to the current situation, in which a variety of fragment shapes, having different masses are launched by different means over a range of different velocities. This lack of standardization makes it extremely difficult to extract any meaningful, comparable and representative data from the tests that are conducted.

There is a current need within the international IM community to identify a test procedure that is representative of the credible threats; repeatable and reproducible; and instructive, i.e., resulting in data that are understandable and useful. Meeting this need will require an understanding of the threats and how best to simulate these threats in a cost effective and technically sound testing approach. To assist the community in this difficult task, NIMIC staff have gathered relevant information from the NIMIC databases and presented it in this report, along with analyses of the data and recommendations for the way ahead.

The existing NATO and national requirements for fragment impact, along with current testing procedures, are presented in section one. This is followed by a study of the real fragments, or those produced by the initiation of actual munitions, and a survey of the fragments used by the various nations and organizations to simulate the "real" fragments. Section 3 describes the fragment impact testing facilities, past and present, including description of the type of fragment launcher(s) used and the capabilities of each. The many variables involved in fragment impact testing are presented in section 4, along with data gathered from the research efforts of investigators who have examined the interactions between these variables, their sensitivities, and their effects on test results. Discussion of other relevant issues, and recommendations from NIMIC workshops are included in section 5, along with NIMIC's analysis of the data presented in section 4. The report concludes with a summary of the information, which can be removed and used as a stand-alone guide.