Ammunition safety experts from Member States and industry met on 27 and 28 November at EDA headquarters to discuss and detail the implementation of a roadmap for the harmonisation of ammunition qualification in Europe. This roadmap was approved by defence ministers during their steering board meeting on 19 November as part of EDA’s work on Pooling & Sharing enablers.
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 considered critical to the capabilities of the European armed forces. During recent multinational operations partner nations needed to exchange ammunition.
However, the 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.
At the European Network of National Safety Authorities (ENNSA – an EDA body) meeting this week, government and industry representatives agreed that harmonisation would benefit the demand as well as the supply side, improving interoperability and cooperation, facilitating cost reduction, and increasing the competitiveness of European industry.
They prioritised the following short term actions (to be implemented by the end of 2013):
-- Standardised reporting – to facilitate sharing and acceptance of qualification results. This will also enable cooperation, including promoting P&S activities among EU nations while avoiding duplication of tests. This will inevitably reduce total ammunition procurement costs; and,
-- Minimum Safety Data Package – to be established to ensure better understanding of Member States’ national safety requirements thus enhancing harmonisation.
Other actions from the meeting to be initiated in 2013 include:
-- Endorsement of Test & Evaluation Houses: The aim is to increase trust and provide better insight of the processes, expertise and methodologies used.
-- Creation of European users group on specific standards: To enable nations using similar standards to share experience and views on standard implementation further enhancing harmonisation and common understanding.