Strike weapons and IM master plans published

Previous • Next

In spite of the CNO policy and the obvious advantages that could be realized by meeting at least some of the Insensitive Munitions requirements, the Navy’s Strike Weapons Master Plan adopted in the mid 1980’s overlooked the requirement. The Master Plan contained the following guidance”64

“- Reduce the quantity and types of ordnance in the inventory.
– Increase the kills per delivery-aircraft pass.
– Increase delivery aircraft survivability.
– Incorporate standoff capability.
– Lower cost per target kill.
– Leverage the evolving technology base.”

The Strike Weapons Master Plan was the document used to guide the development and acquisition of conventional strike ordnance. These, for the most part, are the ordnance items handled and stored aboard the aircraft carriers. The guidance provided in the document did nothing to encourage Navy System Commands or weapon prime contractors for air-launched weapons to address the IM requirements. Nevertheless, the effort to have the IM policy and goals accepted continued.

On 1 April 1986, RAdm. Chang, SEA-06, issued the Master Plan for the Navy Insensitive Munitions Program.65 This document formalized the “framework for accomplishing the CNO goal of complete arsenal transition to insensitive munitions by 1995 without significantly impacting operational capability”. The IM management organization and the responsibilities assigned to each segment, as defined in the plan, were essentially as approved at the CEB in March 1984.

In essence, the document formalized the following responsibilities:

  1. OPNAV Ship Characteristics and Improvement Board (SCIB). – issue general policy and guidance for the Navy IM program and be the final authority to approve or disapprove waivers for weapons that do not meet the IM requirements.
  2. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, OP-03. – oversee and coordinate the planning, funding, and execution of the IM program.
  3. OPNAV IM Council, IMC. – assist OP-03 in the planning and execution of the IM program. Membership of the IMC included Flag officers (Vice Admiral level) from the OPNAV Divisions, the Director of the Materials Division at the Headquarters, Marine Corps, and the Chairman, Insensitive Munitions Coordination Group.
  4. IM Coordinating Group, IMCG. – support the IMC in all aspects of the program. Membership of the IMCG included Flag officers (Rear Admiral level) from the System Commands, the Marine Corps, and the Army Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition.
  5. IMCG Working Group, IMCGWG. – provide direct support to the IMCG. The IMCGWG was staffed by NAVSEA, NAVAIR, and the Weapons Centers.

On 8 May 1986, Mr. Richard Rumpf, the Principal Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, (Research, Engineering, & Systems) issued the following statement.66 This was in support of the above-mentioned Joint IM study launched by the Services’ Joint Requirements Oversight Council in October 1985.

“…It is appropriate for the issue of IM to be of concern to all the Services and the Munitions Council. In December 1979, the NATO Conference of National Armament Directors identified munitions safety and energetic materials qualification as one of the largest impediments to the interoperability of weapons among the NATO nations. The Joint Requirements Management Board (JMRB) has recognized the implications of the issue and has established a working group under Navy leadership to identify procedures for better Service cooperation and prepare a joint Service IM policy….”

The IM Study Group established by the JROC issued its report on 3 July 1986.67 They found that there was significant commonality among the Services for munitions requirements, technology efforts, and procurement. Working with the Services headquarters staffs and representatives from the Joint Ordnance Commanders Group, the Study Group refined the Navy IM definitions and technical requirements criteria.

The Joint Service IM Study Group identified nine tests, which met the Services’ needs and could be used for identifying insensitive munitions. Of these, three (fast cook-off, bullet impact, and sympathetic detonation) were common to all Services and six (spall, fragment impact, shaped charge, slow cook-off, electromagnetic pulse, and electrostatic discharge) were relevant to some but not all of the Services.

The Study Group recommendations were approved by the JROC and forwarded to the Service Secretaries in January 1987. The Joint Service IM policy and requirements document was approved by the Air Force on 5 June 1987, by the Army on 30 June 1987, and by the Navy on 8 September 1987.

Shortly after the Joint IM policy was approved, the Army established an IM office at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ and the Air Force established an IM office at Eglin AFB, FL.

Previous • Next

64Chenevey, J.V., CAPT., U.S. Navy, “New weapons…New Tactics”, Naval Institute Proceedings, September 1994, p.110
65Chang, M.E. RAdm. U.S. Navy, Chairman, Insensitive Munitions Coordinating Group, US Navy Master Plan for Insensitive Munitions Program issued 1 April 1986.
66OASN(R,E&S) Memorandum for the Chairman, Office of the Secretary of Defense Munitions Council dated 8 May 1986.
67JCS Memorandum for the Joint Requirements Oversight Council; Subject: Insensitive Munitions Joint Requirement, dated 3 July 1986.