What’s going on in AC/326 and its Sub-groups

SG/A(IST) – Initiation Systems

This is a brief summary of the main elements from current programme of work undertaken by SG/A(IST) and presented at the December AC/326 Main Group meeting.  Twelve nations were represented at the September programme of working groups and Sub-Group meeting.  The more significant STANAGs currently being reviewed are:

  • STANAG 4187/ AOP 4187 –Fuzing Systems, Safety Design Requirements (France/Canada –Interim Custodians for UK).  A number of drafts have been circulated with the most recent prepared by the interim Custodians and presented to the Working Group.  There is still some outstanding drafting of a few parts of the Standard to be completed before the next meeting with work now reaching a conclusion.  This will then lead to a programme of reviews of other linked Standards. 
  • STANAG 4326 / AOP 8 –NATO Fuze Characteristics Data (Germany –Custodian).  The current drafts of the STANAG and AOP were discussed and the draft version of the proposed SRD presented. 
  • STANAG 2818 / AOP-31 / AOP-32 –Demolition Systems (Turkey –Custodian with MSIAC support).  An analysis was given of Demolition Systems and the differences with other types of initiation systems.  Further work is in hand to produce a new draft STANAG 2818; any testing requirements more appropriate for SG/B to manage will be transferred  to that Sub-Group.  

The Group has commenced work on developing a new NATO Standard to address the requirements for Remotely Controlled SAF Systems (USA –Custodian).  A Remotely Controlled SAF System is any weapon system that is controlled via a secure network and can be recoverable/reusable or a one-time use munition.  Work is at an initial stage on a draft from the Custodian. 

A significant amount of effort has been put into reviewing terms used within the Sub Group documents in support of a NATO initiative.  Many with an obvious meaning have been removed but a number will need to be retained where it is necessary to maintain a clear and unambiguous understanding of terminology.  Progress has been thorough and methodical driven by the Canadian Terminology Officer. 

There was also a session with the Interservice Ammunition Working Group on software tools they have developed in support of NATO Interoperability.  Data from SG/A(IST) is used in the databases and the opportunity to look at and review the functionality of the tools was appreciated. 

New or revised NATO Standards in the approval process or promulgated are:

  • STANAG 4157 - Fuzing Systems: Test Requirements for the Assessment of Safety and Suitability for Service Edition 3, in the ratification process. 
  • STANAG 4363 - Initiation Systems: Testing for the Assessment of Detonating Explosive Components - AOP-21 Edition 3, now promulgated on 24 November 2016. 
  • STANAG 4369 Design Requirements for Inductive Setting of Large Calibre Projectile Fuzes - AOP-4369 Edition 2, sent to NSO for release into ratification process as of 10 January 2017. 
  • STANAG 4497, Hand Emplaced Munitions, Principles for Safe Design, Edition 2, now promulgated on 16 November 2016. 
  • STANAG 4560, Electro-Explosive Devices, Assessment and Test Methods for Characterization – AOP-43, Edition 3, now promulgated on 21 November 2016. 

SG/A - Energetic Materials

The SG/A EM team is currently responsible for maintaining over 40 STANAGs and AOPs relating to energetic material ingredients, qualification and safety. To maintain these documents the nations agree a program of work based on national and NATO priorities. This has also included implementing changes to the NATO document structure; with the STANAG providing only ratification information, test procedures reside within the AOP and all associated information moved to the Standards Related Document (SRD).  

Recent efforts have focused on the amalgamation of all mechanical testing STANAGs to form AOP/STANAG 4717, due for ratification in 2017. EU legislation (REACh) has generated research into new propellant stabilisers, which in turn has an impact on the stability test procedures and requirements STANAG (4620 and AOP-48). This has provided the impetus to review the STANAG and to provide recommendation for the future of the document.

MSIAC is also providing support to SG/A through reviews of compatibility testing and areas of interest such as gun launch simulators.

SG/B – Munition Systems

This is a brief summary of the main elements from current programme of work undertaken by SG/B and presented at the December AC/326 Main Group meeting.  From a busy programme of work the more noteworthy items are: 

  • Full Scale Test Standards. Formation of working groups to review the Slow Heating, Sympathetic Reaction and Fragment Impact STANAGs and create  new STANAGS/AOPS. 
  • STANAG 4110 – Definition of Pressure Terms and their Interrelationship for use in the Design and Proof of Cannons or Mortars and Ammunition – STANAG to be transferred from AC/225 to this sub group as Sponsor. 
  • STANAG 4675 – In-service Surveillance and Monitoring (AOP 62, AOP 63 and AOP 64) now in ratification. 
  • STANAG 4518 – Safe Disposal of Munitions, Design Principles and Requirements, and Safety Assessment – reviewed and current draft circulated for comment. 

The AAS3P Working Group continues to develop with the AAS3P Allied Standards, current status of Standards are: 

  • AAS3P-1 Guidance, Edition B, Version 1 - finalized and to be delivered to SG/B December 2016. 
  • AAS3P-10 Shoulder Launched Munitions, Edition B, Version 1 – deliver to SG/B for silence procedure December 2016. 
  • AAS3P-11 Surface and Underwater Launched Munitions, - covering STANAG 4758 issued for ratification. 
  • AAS3P-12 Air Launched Munitions – covering STANAG 4759 issued for ratification. 
  • AAS3P-20 Large Caliber Munitions – covering STANAG 4761 issued for ratification. 
  • AAS3P-21 Medium Caliber Munitions – expect delivery to SG/B for silence procedure by Fall 2017. 
  • AAS3P-22 Small Caliber Munitions – plan to deliver to SG/B for silence procedure Spring 2017
  • AAS3P-23 Land Forces Munitions (i.e. mortars) - expect delivery to SG/B for silence procedure by Fall 2017. 
  • AAS3P-30 Aircraft Ancillary Devices Containing Energetic Materials – expect delivery for silence [procedure by Fall 2017

The NATO Smart Defence Initiative on Integrated Munition Health Management will hold its first working meeting in the Netherlands 3-5 April 2017, chaired by UK.  Further details and registration are available through the MSIAC website. 

A cross cutting review of NATO policy on Insensitive Munitions (SG/B) and Hazard Classification (SG/C) looking at areas for harmonisation has recently commenced.  This is looking at the current UN Test Series 6 and UN Test Series 7 to see where there are opportunities for harmonisation of efforts, better use of expertise and knowledge and more appropriate classification.  This will be a significant programme of work with the initial step the production of a draft Standard.  This is co-led by the USA and UK and will need to include technical groups to review and address key areas identified such as scope and classification protocols amongst other key area.

SG/C – In–service and operational safety management

The AC/326 SGC is responsible for developing and maintaining standards in the field of In-Service & Operational Safety Management. These are published in AASTP-1 and AASTP-5 for safe storage in the home nation (AASTP-1 should be applied overseas whenever possible) and on deployed missions respectively. AASTP-3 deals with hazard classification (HC) of ammunition, and AASTP-4 provides a detailed description of explosives safety risk analysis and related engineering models for explosion effects, damage and injury.

There are a number of active technical working groups that aim to further develop the aforementioned standards, and keep the technical content up to date with the latest experimental results and insights. With respect to AASTP-1 there is a focus on improvements of Quantity Distance (QD) criteria (Part I) and updated criteria for airfields (Part IV). An important development has been the QDs for storage of Small Quantities (<500 kg NEQ HD1.1), referred to as SQQD. The impact of that work on QDs for other hazard divisions that can exhibit (partial) detonation reactions is currently a topic of research. Another task is to review the 400 m minimum Inhabited Building Distance (IBD) for HD1.1. Recent debris data generated in full scale tests has suggested that a significantly larger distance may be required. This has led to a review of the test data and experimental procedures. The AASTP-5 WG will review recommendations from the last Exercise Capable Logistician and update AASTP-5 accordingly.  Within the AASTP-4 Custodian Working Group a lot of work has been conducted in preparation of the most recent version of this document. It now contains a wealth of new and updated explosive effect and consequence models, e.g. lung injury, injury due to debris impact, and structural damage. The initiatives of the US in relation to Insensitive Munitions and HC are followed with interest as they may have an impact on the content of AASTP-3.

The standards are also continuously updated based on feedback from the AASTP-1 and AASTP-5 lecture series, where Explosives Safety Officers (ESO) learn how to apply the standards. This course has been developed by MSIAC. Other relevant topics in which MSIAC plays a role are the maintenance of databases related to hazard classification, accidents and nationally approved structures.