O-049 Risk Assessment, IM Assessment and Collateral Damage

May 2000
Rodrigue Boulay (Mitigation Methods)

The main thrust behind the development of insensitive munitions (IM) is to maintain operational effectiveness by reducing collateral damage resources as a result of unplanned explosive events on them. IM also means better protection for the general public and improved safety in general. The current approach to IM demands the development of munitions that satisfy very specific requirements. However, the current way of evaluating munition responses in terms of the current NATO Reaction Types does not provide suitable input to assess collateral damage. Hence, despite satisfying the IM requirements, the impact of the unplanned initiation of a munition on its environment is not readily identified by the IM Assessment.

The hazards from a munition response must be identified in order to evaluate the potential collateral damage to the immediate surroundings. These data can then be used to determine whether or not the risk involved is acceptable. Although, acceptable risk is very country-specific, a methodology for assessing risk is valuable. The NIMIC proposes some principles for integrating the risk assessment, the IM assessment and the evaluation of the collateral damage to achieve safermunitions. It illustrates the need to modify the way in which munition responses are being evaluated and why the new response descriptors proposed by NIMIC are important. It also establishes a link between risk and IM.

The IM Assessment process is more than merely the assessment of the response of a munition against the IM requirement criteria of STANAG 4439. It is a means by which munition developers and safety assessors can obtain data upon which to assess the collateral damage that could occur should a munition be initiated accidentally. This information is also valuable to vulnerability assessors to evaluate the survivability of resources and the vulnerability of weapons platforms.

Presentation details

This paper was presented to the PARARI '99 Symposium held on 10-12 November 1999 in Rydges, Canberra, Australia and the Insensitive Munitions and Energetic Materials Technology Symposium, held on 29 November-2 December 1999 in Tampa, Florida, USA