O-196 Insensitive Munitions Explosive Ordnance Disposal Challenges

October 2018
Martin Pope, Dr. Ernest L. Baker
Development of appropriate procedures for the disposal of explosive ordnance are mandated by NATO STANAG 2143 (AEODP-10). As a result of Insensitive Munitions (IM) development, many munitions are being introduced with increasingly less shock sensitive energetics with increased critical diameters. This poses problems for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operations in conducting a successful Render Safe Procedure (RSP). Traditional EOD methods for disposal consist of a number of tried and trusted techniques used singly or sometimes in combination such as, shock initiation by donor charge, directed energy attack (e.g. shaped charge, EFP), thermal initiation charge and projectile attack. In addition EOD operations sometimes require a non-detonating response (Type IV to Type V IM response). As newer IM munitions are designed to have reduced sensitiveness to these types of stimulus this presents a new challenge for EOD (Figure 1). This paper will look to assess the effect of introduction of IM compliant munitions and in particular reduced sensitiveness energetic materials on EOD RSPs and make proposals and recommendations on considerations in planning and conduct of EOD operations. This paper approaches the topic from an IM perspective, and the final outcome is to develop assessment and guidance for the EOD community to better address the challenge of disposal of munitions filled with less sensitive energetic material. In the longer term intent is to develop recommendations for inclusion in NATO EOD policy. In this work we are assuming plastic explosives will be used with an RDX loading of 80%. For a range of military grade plastic explosives investigated this percentage loading and explosive type is common with an RDX loading between 79% and 82%. When used In User Filled weapons and as a donor charge, this margin of error is not considered significant. There may be a number of alternate systems for EOD disposal available. We are aware of the General Dynamics Reactive Material based neutralisation technology. Not enough is known about such novel systems to enable an assessment to be made about their utility. This paper is confined to existing explosive based techniques which are more widely used and are probably still a cost effective solution. 

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