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Munitions Glossary

Ammunition and Explosives:  Includes (but is not necessarily limited to) all items of U.S.-titled (owned by the U.S. Government through DoD Components) ammunition; propellants, liquid and solid; pyrotechnics; high explosives; guided missiles; warheads; devices; devices, and chemical agent substances and components presenting real or potential hazards to life, property and the environment. Excluded are wholly inert items and nuclear warheads and devices, except for considerations of storage and stowage compatibility, blast, fire, and non-nuclear fragment hazards associated with the explosives. Reference: DoD 6055.9-STD 

Chemical Munitions and Agents:  An agent or munition that through chemical properties produces lethal or other damaging effects to human beings, except that such term does not include riot control agents, chemical herbicides, smoke and flame producing items, or other obscuration materials. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Compatibility:  Ammunition or explosives that may be stored or transported together without increasing significantly either the probability of an accident or, for a given quantity, the magnitude of the effects of such an accident. Reference:  DoD 6055.9 STD

Deflagration:  A rapid chemical reaction in which the output of heat is enough to enable the reaction to proceed and be accelerated without input of heat from another source.  Deflagration is a surface phenomenon with the reaction products flowing away from the un-reacted material along the surface at subsonic velocity.  The effect of a true deflagration under confinement is an explosion.  Confinement of the reaction increases pressure, rate of reaction and temperature, and may cause transition into a detonation.  Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Demilitarization (Demil):  To disarm, neutralize, and accomplish any other action required to render ammunition and explosives innocuous or ineffectual for military use. Reference: DoD 4145.26M

Detonation:  A violent chemical reaction within a chemical compound or mechanical mixture evolving heat and pressure.  A detonation is a reaction that proceeds through the reacted material toward the un-reacted material at a supersonic velocity.  The result of the chemical reaction is exertion of extremely high pressure on the surrounding medium, forming a propagating shock wave that originally is of supersonic velocity.  When the material is located on or near the surface of the ground, a crater normally characterizes a detonation. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Energetics:  Any material, chemicals, or end products used in the production of pyrotechnics, explosives, and propellants.  A component of, or an item of ammunition, that is designed to produce the necessary energy required for ignition, propulsion, detonation, fire or smoke, thus enabling the item to function.  Also a material (corrosive, oxidizer, etc.) that is inherently dangerous and capable of causing serious damage and which requires regulated handling to avoid accidents in connection with its existence and use. Reference: Munitions Action Plan (MAP)

Explosion:  A chemical reaction of any chemical compound or mechanical mixture that, when initiated, undergoes a very rapid combustion or decomposition releasing large volumes of highly heated gases that exert pressure on the surrounding medium.  Also, a mechanical reaction in which failure of the container causes the sudden release of pressure from within a pressure vessel, for example, pressure rupture of a steam boiler.  Depending on the rate of energy release, an explosion can be categorized as a deflagration, a detonation, or pressure rupture. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Explosive:  The term "explosive" or "explosives" includes any chemical compound or mechanical mixture which, when subjected to heat, impact, friction, shock, detonation or other suitable initiation, undergoes a very rapid chemical change with the evolution of large volumes of highly heated gases which exert pressures in the surrounding medium.  The term applies to materials that either detonate or deflagrate. Reference: DoD 4145.26-M

Explosives Safety:  A condition where operational capability, personnel, property, and the environment are protected from the unacceptable effects of an ammunition or explosives mishap. Reference: DoDD 6055.9

Explosives Safety Management: A process of risk management, consisting of policies, procedures, and engineering controls, that reduces the probability and the consequences of an ammunition or explosives mishap. Reference: DoDD 6055.9

Hazard Classification:  Identifies the hazardous characteristics of ammunition, explosives, and pyrotechnic material items by assignment to established hazard categories governing storage and transportation.  These categories are: Hazard Class Division, Storage Compatibility Group, Department of Transportation (DOT) Class, DOT Markings, and United Nations Organization (UNO) classification.  To ease identification of hazard characteristics and thus promote safe storage and transportation of ammunition and explosives, DoD uses the international system of classification devised by the UNO for transport of dangerous goods.  The UNO classification system consists of nine hazard classes, two of which are applicable to ammunition and explosives as defined as Classes 1 and 6.  Thirteen compatibility groups are included for segregating ammunition and explosives on the basis of similarity of characteristics, properties, and accident effects potential. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance (HERO): The potential for electromagnetic radiation to affect adversely munitions or electro-explosive devices. Modern communication and radar transmitters can produce high electromagnetic environments that are potentially hazardous to ordnance.  These environments can cause premature actuation of sensitive electrically initiated explosive devices (EIDS) located within the ordnance.  The cause is the emissions from radar or communication transmitters and the effect is inadvertent initiation or possible duding of the EIDs in the ordnance.
Reference: MIL - STD - 464

Insensitive Munitions (IM):  Munitions that minimize the probability of inadvertent initiation and the severity of subsequent collateral damage as a result of unplanned, external stimuli. Reference: CJCSI 3170.01D

Mass-Detonating Explosives:  HE, black powder, certain propellants, certain pyrotechnics, and other similar explosives, alone or in combination, or loaded into various types of ammunition or containers, most of the entire quantity of which can be expected to explode virtually instantaneously when a small portion is subjected to fire, to sever concussion or impact, to the impulse of an initiating agent, or to the effect of a considerable discharge of energy from without.  Such an explosion normally will cause sever structural damage to adjacent objects.  Explosion propagation may occur immediately to other items of ammunition and explosives stored sufficiently close to and not adequately protected from the initially exploding pile with a time interval short enough so that two or more quantities must be considered as one for Quantity- Distance (Q-D) purposes. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Munitions (Military):  All ammunition products and components produced or used by or for DoD or the U. S. Armed Services for national defense and security, including military munitions under the control of the DoD, the U. S. Coast Guard, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), and National Guard personnel.  The term "military munitions" includes confined gaseous, liquid, and solid propellants, explosives, pyrotechnics, chemical and riot control agents, smokes, and incendiaries used by the DoD Components including bulk explosives and chemical warfare agents, chemical munitions, rockets, guided and ballistic missiles, bombs, warheads, mortar rounds, artillery ammunition, small arms ammunition, grenades, mines, torpedoes, depth charges, cluster munitions and dispensers, demolition charges, and devices and components thereof.  "Military munitions" do not include wholly inert items, improvised explosive devices, and nuclear components thereof.  However, it does not include non-nuclear components of nuclear devices, managed under the DoE's nuclear weapons program, after all required sanitizing operations under the "Atomic Energy Act of 1954", as amended, have been completed.
Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Munitions Action Plan (MAP):  A DoD plan to develop, procure and test munitions that meet military performance and operational requirements while enhancing explosives safety and reducing the potential for adverse effects to the environment during the munitions life cycle.

Net Explosives Quantity (NEQ): The actual weight of the explosive mixture or compound, including the contribution of other energetic material(s), expressed in kilograms. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Net Explosive Weight (NEW):  The actual weight of the explosive mixture or compound, including the contribution of other energetic material(s), expressed in pounds, which is used in the determination of explosive limits and quantity distance arcs.   Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Ordnance:  Military materiel such as combat weapons of all kinds with ammunition and equipment required for their use.  Ordnance includes all the things that make up a ship's, tank's or aircraft's armament including guns, ammunition, and all equipment and ordnance related software needed to control, operate, and support the weapons. Reference: NAVSEA OP 5 Vol 1

Primary Explosives or Initiators:  Detonates and does not burn. Usually understood as detonators and blasting caps; can include fuzes.  These include HE compounds or mixtures that can transform the process of deflagration into detonation in small quantities.  Examples include, but are not limited to, lead styphnate, mercury fulminate, and lead azide.

Propellant:  A low explosive composition, solid or liquid form, which burns and does not detonate.  Propellants are used for propelling projectiles and rockets and to generate gases for powering auxiliary devices.

Pyrotechnics:  Mixtures of finely divided fuels and oxidizer powders, which may include various organic binders and color intensifiers, used to produce sound, light, heat, smoke, delay, and gas.  Once ignited, pyrotechnic mixtures rapidly evolve a considerable amount of heat and gas.  Pyrotechnics may typically containing white phosphorus or pyrophoric (spontaneously flammable), or flame and incendiary materials.  Examples include flame, signals, simulators, smoke, fireworks, and Napalm.

Quantity Distance (QD):  The quantity of explosive material and distance separation relationships that provide defined types of protection.  These relationships are based on levels of risk considered acceptable for the stipulated exposures and are tabulated in the appropriate Q-D tables.  Separation distances are not absolute safe distances but are relative protective or safe distances.  Greater distances than those shown in the tables shall be used whenever practicable. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Small Arms Ammunition:  Ammunition for small arms; i.e. all ammunition up to and including .60 caliber and all gauges of shotgun shells. Also includes 14.5mm and 20 mm ammunition that does not have high explosives or incendiary loaded projectiles.  Reference: NAVSEA OP 5 Vol 1

Smoke:  A suspension of small liquid or solid particles in air.  Smoke may be used as a filling for ordnance such as bombs, projectiles, and grenades.  As part of ordnance nomenclature, the term signifies that it is intended to produce smoke of the type(s) or color(s) indicated.

Surface Danger Zone:  The ground and airspace designated within the training complex (to include associated safety areas) for vertical and lateral containment of projectiles, fragments, debris, and components resulting from the firing, launching, or detonation of weapon systems to include explosives and demolitions.  Reference: AR 385-63/MCO 3570.1B

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO):  Explosive ordnance that has been primed, fuzed, armed, or otherwise prepared for action, and that has been fired, dropped, launched, projected, or placed in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to operations, installations, personnel, or material and remains unexploded either by malfunction or design or for any other cause. Reference: DoD 6055.9 STD

Weapon System:  A weapon system is a type of ordnance intended for use in defeating enemy targets.  Weapon systems include hardware and software subsystems and components required for its operation and support throughout its life cycle including that necessary for the selection, arming, release or firing, and jettison of an ordnance item. The weapon system as defined herein, includes its interface with the delivery platform.

Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board (WSESRB):  The designated Department of Navy authority for the review and independent assessment of the safety aspects of weapon systems, explosive systems and related systems, and is empowered to make safety recommendations to the responsible Service Command, PM, and Milestone Decision Authority.  The WSESRB is the safety approval authority with regard to the conduct of test firings aboard Navy ships.

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