O-210 Non-Hero Microwave Hazards To Munitions

October 2019
Matthew Ferran (MSIAC)
Accidental initiation of munitions via the heating of bridgewires by radiofrequency (RF) radiation (i.e. HERO) is well understood; far less work has been undertaken to determine how bulk energetic materials (cased or uncased) directly respond to exposure to RF radiation. It is important to understand this phenomenon, particularly in the context of the ever increasing power of military transmitters.
A review of the factors influencing microwave heating of energetic materials was undertaken, at both the material and munition level. Experimental data from the literature was used to determine the likely response of munitions to a microwave environment representative of that experienced in-service with NATO armed forces.
Under the right conditions, it is possible that certain energetic materials may be heated to the point of initiation by the in-service microwave environment in a short timescale (e.g. minutes).
In order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the non-HERO microwave hazards to munitions, further work is required to characterise the dielectric properties of a variety of energetic materials over representative temperature and frequency ranges; this must be supplemented by a better understanding of the response of non-energetic munition components to the same environment, including their effect in ameliorating the microwave environment.

Contact us for more information

Matthew Ferran
Munitions Systems TSO
United Kingdom
+32 2 707 55 58