O-161 Case Study: Transport and Storage of Insensitive Munitions (IM)

May 2015
Thomas N. Taylor (Munitions Safety, Transport & Storage)

Minimizing the probability and subsequent consequences of inadvertent initiation of munitions protects our force and reduces the severity of collateral damage. These direct benefits have been achieved thanks to the Insensitive Munitions community.

However not all deploying nations who are co-located with NATO allied forces have procured these safer munitions. Imagine a military base located in an operational theater somewhere in Southwest Asia. This future multi-national camp shares an ammunition holding area with two other nations. The munitions are stored according to NATO Guidelines AASTP-1 with no deviations requiring a waiver. The ammunition holding area footprint is based on the aggregation rules of the standard, i.e., if Hazard Divisions 1.2, 1.3 is mixed with 1.1, the entire explosive quantity is aggregated as HD 1.1. However this future ammunition holding area has no HD 1.1. All main high explosive charges of the munitions present are filled with an insensitive explosive that have passed the sympathetic reaction test.

Another allied nation subsequently arrives and wants to store their munitions, but the artillery is filled with TNT and Composition B thus hazard classified as HD 1.1. Aggregating the net explosive quantity as HD 1.1 significantly increases the risk and the Command is not willing to accept it.

How will Insensitive Munitions (IM) change the way we ship and store munitions? This paper will discuss issues related to the strategic and operational storage benefits of IM, but also on the realities of Insensitive Munitions from the perspective of those charged with the storage and movement of stocks.