Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, attended an ammunition qualification live demonstration at Rheinmetall’s Waffe Munition GmbH (RWM) Test Facilities in Unterlüß (Germany) on 15 November 2012. During this visit, Claude-France Arnould highlighted that European Member States could benefit from important savings through full harmonisation of ammunition qualification procedures.
The European ammunition sector is considered key in the consolidation of a globally competitive and capable European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. This sector has a high operational impact and is critical to the capabilities of the Member States armed forces. During recent multinational operations partner nations needed to exchange ammunition. However, the current ammunition testing procedures vary between Member States preventing such sharing arrangements. Harmonisation of safety standards would enable pooling and sharing, procuring, stockpiling, exchanging or transporting of ammunition between Member States.
“In order to contribute to a more systematic and sustainable approach to the long-term development of Pooling & Sharing, harmonisation and rationalisation of European military regulations and procedures is a key area where EDA can add value in offering its services to the Member States”, said Claude-France Arnould during her visit in Unterlüß.
EDA action plan to improve harmonisation
The lack of harmonisation in ammunition qualification in Europe increases the procurement costs for Member States, puts the EU defence industry at a disadvantage in comparison to its global competitors and most importantly prevents European Armed Forces from conducting common operations and logistics.
EDA’s action plan aims to improve this situation without posing additional burden on national authorities or duplicating relevant activities such as in NATO.
This action plan includes short to mid-term term objectives expected to drastically reduce duplication and total acquisition costs, while improving harmonisation and the potential for further cooperation, including Pooling & Sharing. Actions such as Standardised Qualification Reporting, development of a Minimum Safety Data Package and the Endorsement of Test and Evaluation Houses, are designed to enable comparison between individual Member States qualification results, reducing unnecessary duplication and enhancing trust among national authorities and test centres to promote commonly accepted qualification processes.
During the opening session of this event Detlef Selhausen, the National Armaments Director of Germany, Ralf Prechtl, CEO of Rheinmetall’s Waffe Munition GmbH, and Jan-Olov Blix representing the land sectorial group of ASD (ELDIG) as former Executive Vice-President, provided their views on the topic, all of them supporting EDA’s initiative for enhanced harmonisation.
Implementation of EDA’s action plan will be coordinated by the European Network of National Safety Authorities on Ammunition (ENNSA) including short to longer term objectives, delivering incrementally the expected benefits for the Member States and European defence industry.