L-141 Reduced Environmental Impact Munitions and Insensitive Munitions

September 2008
Pierre Archambault (Propulsion Technology)


The concept of Insensitive Munitions (IM) is more than 3 decades old. At its inception environmental awareness was not an issue, and munitions were developed primarily to meet performance requirements. Paying attention to environmental impact of munitions is far more recent and is the result of public interest in the environment. The driver for IM comes from the military, while environmental protection has been predominantly a civilian sector issue. Although the military is conscious of the importance of preserving the environment, it is mainly concerned with complying with environmental laws, regulations and liabilities while they are being proactive towards establishing and meeting IM requirements. This situation is the consequence of the size and variety of current and past military activities and of legacy munitions.

This report is the result of constantly growing concerns about the environmental impact of munitions. The first part (section 4) is a survey aiming at identifying the efforts derived from the munitions environmental impact awareness, and the interactions between these efforts and the IM concept. The second part (section 5) is aiming at describing some reduced environmental impact munitions (REIM) concepts. The third part (section 6 and 7) is aimed at proposing a definition for munitions that feature REIM, a classification system and a labelling system. The last part (section 8) of the document aims at evaluating the potential impact of the IM and REIM on the munitions' life cycle.