O-042 A Synopsis of the NIMIC Workshop on Insensitive Munitions (IM) Testing

July 1998
Dr Michael W. Sharp (Energetic Materials) , Jason deW FitzGerald-Smith (Warhead Design), Patrick Touzé (Detonics and Terminal Ballistics), Rodrigue Boulay (Mitigation Methods)

Over the last five years, NIMIC has organised a series of Workshops for its nations on the threats and stimuli which are relevant to the concerns of making munitions less hazardous. These Workshops have covered the subjects of Bullet/Fragment Impact, Heating, Sympathetic Reaction and Shaped Charge Jet Impact. A general aspect that emerged from the conclusions of these Workshops is that there are deficiencies in the current test methods assigned to measure IM characteristics. These deficiencies will ultimately impact the assessment of a munition against the requirements of the IM STANAG 4439, Policy for Introduction, Assessment and Testing for Insensitive Munitions (MURAT). They will also influence the content of AOP-39, Guidance on the Development, Assessment and Testing of Insensitive Munitions (MURAT). Consequently, NIMIC decided to hold a Workshop in 1997 on IM Testing. The aim of the Workshop was to write guidance on full-scale IM testing in order to improve confidence in and achieve international acceptability and broader applicability of test results.

This Workshop was an ambitious undertaking. It covered a wide range of issues and addressed a broad band of stimuli associated with shock, impact and thermal effects. A task of this magnitude demanded that the Workshop be organized into two distinct phases. Phase one addressed the procedures involved with Fast Heating, Slow Heating, and Sympathetic Reaction and took place at NATO Headquarters on 20-23 May 1997. Phase two addressed the impact stimuli that is Bullet Impact, Fragment Impact, and Shaped Charge Jet Impact and took place in Adelaide, Australia, on 17-21 November 1997. About 70 participants from the NIMIC nations attended each phase of the Workshop. The topics of discussions included Threat and Hazard Assessment (THA), selecting and standardizing full-scale test methods, response descriptors. and small-scale test integration into the IM assessment.

The conclusions include a shift in philosophy in the current qualitative IM assessment based on full-scale tests. Proposals for a quantitative evaluation of a munition’s response to a stimulus were made. The current tests involved in the IM assessment were reviewed and, where applicable, proposals were made for new “standard” tests. Added flexibility to the IM assessment was proposed with the inclusion of “tailored” tests which may be adapted to the requirement of a Threat and Hazard Assessment. A method for conducting THAs was proposed. To improve confidence in full-scale test results, it was proposed that the results from small-scale tests be included into the IM assessment.