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Activity title

Munitions Related Contamination: Military Live-Fire Range Characterization

Activity Reference



Applied Vehicle Technology

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


Start date


End date



Connected Forces Initiative, Environmental Contamination, Range Characterization, Range Sustainment, Risk Assessment, Sampling Strategy


Military readiness is critical to NATO and the PfP countries. Combat units conduct live-fire training with a wide variety of munitions that contain constituents that may have an adverse environmental impact. To control risks and support range sustainability, it is important to recognize the types of residues that are released from different types of munitions during training, how the residues behave in the environment, and how they are distributed on and throughout the training ranges. In AVT-197, these topics have been addressed, and scientific knowledge has been shared among the participating countries. A state of the art Technical Reference Document (TRD) has been developed for the effective characterization of military live-firing training ranges that includes topics such as representative sampling and sampling processing and analysis methods. In order to promulgate the TRD and to widen the impact of AVT-197 and other related NATO technical groups, a Specialists Meeting (AVT-244) will be held in 2015 during which the TRD will be presented to NATO and the PfP countries. As a follow up to the AVT-244 Specialists Meeting, a Cooperative Demonstration of Technology (CDT) is proposed. The CDT will feature a large-scale field demonstration that will include sampling techniques at a military site, sample preparation procedures, and constituent analysis methods. This demonstration has been proposed to be held at a German training range and will provide the opportunity for many countries to actually perform a live-fire range characterization using the TDR document, under the supervision of the document’s co-authors. This CDT is closely related to the NATO Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), one of NATO’s highest priorities. The goal of the CFI is to develop a more integrated operational capability among the member nations’ militaries. One of the primary focus areas of the CFI is expanded training, to include inter-forces training, which will increase the use of existing ranges and impact their sustainability. Conducting the CDT will contribute to maintaining NATO’s readiness and combat effectiveness through the demonstration of scientifically-proven methods developed specifically for quantifying military munitions constituents on training ranges. These methods can be used to characterize the impact on ranges and range sustainability resulting not only from the increase in pace and complexity of training resulting from implementation of the CFI but also from the next generation of insensitive munitions entering use with many member nations’ armed forces A better understanding of the environmental impacts will contribute to the minimization or elimination of the adverse impacts of the increased training regimen, sustaining the military readiness of our armed forces. A better use of the technology will also be ensured by the application of the TRD under this CDT.


Develop awareness regarding the threat to range sustainability from the environmental impact of the use of munitions during live-fire training. Demonstrate the ability to quantify surface contaminant loads and determine distribution of contaminants to enable planning for range sustainment and increased training activities linked to the implementation of the CFI. Develop expertise across NATO and PfP nations to conduct characterization of live-fire ranges. A field demonstration of the methodology described in the Technical Reference Document from AVT-197 will be performed for a group of up to 50 participants in order to provide hands on experience for participating countries. The group will spend three days in the field on a live-fire range. Samples will be collected according to the TRD using appropriate tools and a random-systematic multi-incremental sampling approach. Specific sites will be targeted such as grenade, antitank, and demolition training ranges. If the appropriate equipment is available, the group will spend one day in a laboratory to learn and apply the appropriate sample processing and analytical methods. An emphasis will be placed on data quality and quality assurance procedures for the field and the lab. Preliminary field results will be presented to the site owner at the completion of the work. The samples will be analysed using the methods recommended in the TRD. Laboratory results will be sent to all participants and discussed over a telephone conference or at a PBW location. Final results and a report will be presented to the site owner and the AVT Panel by the group leader.


Hazard identification, sampling plan, identification of decision units, multi increment sampling vs. discrete sampling, reproducibility of results, sample processing and analysis, range sustainability.

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