BRUSSELS — The European Defence Agency (EDA) is helping EU countries harmonize ammunition safety standards to improve pooling and sharing, procuring, stockpiling, exchanging, and transportation.
If full agreement could be reached on requirements in Europe — for instance, if all member states implemented NATO standards in the same way — then the EDA estimates that it could save about 1.5 billion euros per year.
“During recent multinational operations partner nations needed to exchange ammunition. However, the ammunition testing procedures vary between member states preventing such sharing arrangements,” said an EDA news release.
One of the reasons is that different EU countries have slightly different interpretations of NATO standard requirements.
Some countries may have vibration testing requirements relating to transportation by truck, for instance, while others have vibration testing requirements relating to helicopters. The EDA wants to understand the differences and identify a common denominator.
The EDA is also trying to help national authorities understand one another’s processes. If country B understands the methodology, processes and results used by country A, the thinking goes, then it will be easier for country B to accept them.
It was in this context that ammunition safety experts from EU member states and industry met Nov. 27 and 28 at EDA headquarters to discuss a roadmap recently approved by defense ministers from EDA countries for the harmonization of ammunition qualification in Europe.
At the European Network of National Safety Authorities (ENNSA — an EDA body) meeting, government and industry representatives agreed that harmonization would benefit the demand as well as the supply side, improve interoperability and cooperation, facilitate cost reduction, and increase the competitiveness of European industry. They prioritized these short-term actions, which are to be implemented by the end of 2013:
Standardized reporting to improve sharing and acceptance of qualification results. This will also enable cooperation, including promoting pooling and sharing activities, while avoiding duplication of tests. This will reduce total ammunition procurement costs.
Establishing a minimum safety data package to improve understanding of member states’ national safety requirements.
Other actions to be initiated in 2013 include endorsement of test and evaluation houses, to increase trust and provide better insight of the processes, expertise and methodologies used; and creation of European users group on specific standards to enable nations using similar standards to share experiences on standard implementation.