Effect of ageing on munitions safety

Two scientists in protective clothing handling insensitive munitions.

Munitions are exposed to many different environmental conditions, such as temperature extremes and vibration, throughout their life.

This has the potential to degrade various munition components including the warhead and the explosives within.

While ageing of the explosive is reasonably well understood, little is known about the potential impact of ageing on the safety of the warhead.

DST Group is leading an international collaboration that has conducted world-first full-scale experiments to investigate how aged warheads respond to external stimuli such as shock and bullet impact.

The results indicated little change in behaviour compared with warheads in near-original condition. These findings will contribute to knowledge on safe ways for handling and storing an explosive ordnance throughout its lifecycle, reducing the risk to personnel, platforms, storage facilities and even the general public.

Key information

  • Explosives
  • Munitions
  • Shock and Vibration