L-153 Insensitive Munitions Response Descriptors Summary Report

March 2009
Dr Thomas Eich, BWB, Germany , Serge Bordachar, DGA/IPE, France , Thomas Swierk, NSWCDD, USA , Dr Michael W. Sharp, DOSG, UK, Bernie Halls (Munitions Systems)

The needs of the safety authorities to accurately assess the results of expensive and very limited IM testing calls for a review of the current IM response descriptors.  An improved process provides an assessment method with definitive thresholds.  Historically, the basis for determining the IM signature of a munition system is a testing program which is normally limited to only a few full-scale IM tests[1]

Since its inception MSIAC (formerly NIMIC) has promoted the introduction of reduced vulnerability munition solutions and improved safety considerations.  As a record of success the IM signature has been developed by using the response of one munition.  National technical experts have indicated that definitive measures are required which will assist expert assessment panels in determining the response levels.  However, arbitrary levels could lead to determinations of response levels that do not fully reflect improvements in safety.   

The workshops already held which worked on these issues, were in favour of a measure of damage using the unprotected personnel as the yardstick.  These follow-on Technical Meetings will build upon prior international collaboration (particularly the work done through AC/326 Sub-Group 3, to develop and publish Edition 2 of STANAG 4439 and AOP-39) that sought to improve the IM assessment process and be a recognized standard for all nations.

[1]     A number of countries currently use a more comprehensive method for assessment of IM signature including the use of small scale testing and modelling to support or supplant the full scale IM tests.  Currently, STANAG 4439, Edition 2, and its associated AOP-39, Edition 2, have been amended to include this enhanced assessment strategy.