Ammunition safety

Ammunition safety

Armed forces must be able to rely on the effectiveness and safety of their military weapon systems, including the ammunition they use in theater. In world-wide operations ammunition is exposed to a wide range of adverse conditions. Even under such circumstances, it is imperative that the ammunition remains safe. TNO combines expertise from the full range of areas to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ with an integrated view of ammunition safety solutions. We do this for our clients and partners, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD), other MoD’s of both NATO and non-NATO member states, and the major players in the international defence industry.

In terms of ammunition safety, TNO assists to make ammunition safe and suitable for its intended purpose. TNO’s ammunition safety portfolio encompasses a full range of R&D activities. These cover the safe use of all ammunition systems including missiles throughout their complete lifecycle. We support our clients, partners and stakeholders in realising the highest-possible ammunition safety at cost-effective investment levels. Our R&D activities include:

  • Munition Health Management and Lifecycle Costs
  • Qualification of Energetic Materials
  • Functioning and Safety of Ammunition
  • Impact of decomposition products to human body and environment
  • Demilitarisation
  • Unexploded Ordnance

We do this with our specific expertises

NATO guideline assessment

Driven by a changing world and stringent legislation, ammunition must be developed, tested and validated in compliance to NATO guidelines. Experts of TNO contribute, on behalf of Dutch MoD, in various NATO activities to develop and implement these internationally recognized guidelines.

As a knowledge institute, TNO has a long and successful track record in supporting the development, testing and validation of ammunition against these guidelines. With technological innovation, specific expertise, powerful simulation tools, and unique laboratory facilities, TNO is making a significant contribution to improving ammunition safety.

Technology & Innovation

The current challenge is to deploy sensors and data loggers with the ammunition in such a way that environmental and mechanical conditions on the ammunition are collected, stored and can be interpreted. This is going to enable Munition Health Management including track and trace capabilities. In recent years, a lot of effort has been put in developing predictive models to enable the Health Management.

TNO leveraged its R&D activities to focus on sensors and dataloggers to collect relevant parameter  and supporting customers in order to achieve the best possible implementation – translating knowledge and expertise into actual practice, where it really matters. TNO shows that it is possible to incorporate the element of cost-efficiency into ammunition safety through the use of smart technologies and components. Technology and innovation have resulted in extending the service life of different types of ammunition, including high-cost missiles, which represent huge cost savings.

Functioning and Safety

TNO has a long history in R&D in the area of functioning and safety of ammunition. In this focus area, TNO has built a vast amount of expertise in the field of insensitive munitions. These are munitions that are less susceptible to all types of external threats, such as bullet or fragment impact.

The support we offer in this field to industry and MoDs is in the form of innovative materials for ammunition components and packaging. We also assist our clients by performing standardized tests and validation of the ammunitions’ behaviour. These methods are compliant to NATO standards.

Responding to customer focus

With our extensive track record in terms of ammunition safety throughout its lifetime, we easily adapt to the specific focus of our customers, partners and stakeholders.

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Processing of propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics

MoD’s and other stakeholders in the defense industry typically turn to us for innovative solutions related to improvement of performance and costs reduction of munition articles.

Process safety and dangerous goods


Vehicle vulnerability and protection


Weapon systems


Countering explosive threats