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NATO provides Switzerland with valuable technical support in the field of munitions

Since joining the NATO Munitions Safety Information Analysis Centre (MSIAC) in 2021 Switzerland has enjoyed numerous technical resources and precious support from international munitions experts. This is particularly helpful in validating and rounding out internal expertise so as to improve the safety of people and materials. Last October the steering committee of MSIAC visited armasuisse Science and Technology facilities as part of a working session organised in Switzerland.

31.10.2022 | Dr. Patrick Folly, Explosives and Ammunition Surveillance, armasuisse Science and Technology

Group photo of the members of the NATO group MSIAC
The MSIAC steering committee visits armasuisse S+T facilities on 12 October 2022.

The NATO Munitions Safety Information Analysis Centre, better known as MSIAC, is financed and run by member nations. Its purpose is to help countries improve the safety of people and materials in the field of munitions, in particular by reducing or eliminating risk factors that could result in an explosion. To help member nations achieve this objective, the centre compiles, analyses and exchanges information related to munitions safety. Over the years MSIAC has played a key role in helping to make the design, development, procurement and use of munitions safer. It also works closely with the NATO Ammunition Safety Group (AC/326) to assist in drawing up policies and guidelines on interoperability and standardisation in ammunition safety.

Specific answers to Swiss problems

Each member nation can submit technical requests that will be dealt with by experts known as Technology Senior Officers (TSO). This allows every country to ask questions about the safety of their specific munitions. If the situation dictates and framework conditions allow, the MSIAC experts also consult experts from other member nations to answers the questions posed. In addition, the MSIAC has developed instruments that are made available to member nations; examples include a global database of accidents involving munitions, a compendium of known energetic materials, a software program for evaluating the safety of munitions and a tool for predicting the explosive reactions of insensitive munitions.

Switzerland joined the MSIAC recently

Switzerland became a member of the MSIAC in December 2021 and has full access to the information, tools and skills of the technology experts. This is the case in several areas affecting different institutions within our Department. For example, the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) uses MSIAC tools and expertise in munitions storage. Switzerland also enjoys access to all reports issued to date, which are helping to solve current issues in the DDPS. In the specific area of munitions surveillance and as part of new munitions technology generally, armasuisse Science and Technology (S+T) is making active use of the resources mentioned to validate, complete and enhance its internal knowledge base.

In October 2022 the MSIAC steering committee met in Switzerland

Soon after Switzerland joined the MSIAC the steering committee expressed an interest in visiting the facilities in our country. By way of responding positively to this request, a meeting of the MSIAC steering committee was organised in Thun on 12 October 2022. The committee members also visited the laboratories and had an opportunity to discover the many armasuisse S+T testing devices.

This new partnership will allow to continue to improve the security of munitions in Switzerland and count on valuable technical support. It will guarantee that Swiss expertise is up to current international practices.

For all technical questions, please contact Dr Patrick Folly, armasuisse Science and Technology, specialist area Explosives and Ammunition Surveillance,patrick.folly@ar.admin.ch.


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