L-221 Lifecycle of flare countermeasures Report 3 Ageing and degradation

July 2018
Rebecca Millar, MSIAC Stokes Fellow (2018)
Flare countermeasures are traditionally a mixture of magnesium, Teflon® and Viton® (MTV). Historically, information regarding MTV flares was subject to national security restrictions. As time has progressed and the ubiquitous use of MTV flares has been recognised, information has become more publicly available. Whilst numerous independent studies exist, there is very little collating and comparing the results.
Publicly available information regarding spectral flares remains extremely limited; particularly due to security restrictions and rapid development. Many compositions are changing in such a way that they are similar to propellant formulations and hence the hazards and ageing/degradation mechanisms are different to MTV. Hence, understanding and sharing information is vital to assessing the risk that modern compositions pose to help prevent and reduce accidents and their consequences.
Owing to lack of international conversations regarding formulations, there has concurrently been a lack of collaboration on handling, testing and acceptance criteria of flares across NATO countries.
To address these issues a study was undertaken at MSIAC, the results of which are detailed in 3 reports covering the following aspects:
  • Report 1 MSIAC-L-219 – An overview of flare design, MTV flares and a selection of spectral flares.
  • Report 2 MSIAC-L-220 – A review of the lifecycle of flares from manufacture to disposal.
  • Report 3 MSIAC-L-221 – A review of the ageing and degradation mechanisms and mitigation techniques on MTV and selected spectral formulation.


Dr Matthew Andrews, Wade Babcock

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