Последние новости, СМИ

Ammunition disposal options

There were traditionally five methods for disposing of surplus ammunition : sale, gift, increased training use, deep-sea dumping, and destruction. International security concerns, international legislation, and practical considerations, however, indicate that the most effective option remains the physical destruction of ammunition.

Selling or giving away ammunition is the most cost-effective means of disposal, but there are factors that need to be considered: (a) any sale or gift should comply with international export control and transfer best practice; (b) the quality of ammunition nearing the end of its useful shelf life will not be as high as newly manufactured ammunition. This makes it unattractive to reputable end users because it is unlikely to meet their performance standards. Any end user wishing to purchase ammunition of this age should be the subject of the deepest scrutiny; and (c) in order to comply with international transportation regulations and guidelines, the ammunition should be physically inspected to ensure that it is safe to export or transfer beyond national borders: this will mean additional costs. The sale or gift of surplus ammunition is strongly discouraged by much of the international community because, in effect, it only transfers the problem elsewhere.

Increasing training use may initially seem a desirable option, but associated factors may make it undesirable. When ammunition is used it creates additional wear on equipment such as gun barrels, vehicle automotive systems, and so on. This reduces the life of the parent equipment and results in additional maintenance costs. These additional costs should be balanced against the value of the training obtained from firing surplus ammunition stocks. Any significant increase in training may also negate security and confidence building measures with neighbouring states. Furthermore, only limited stocks can be disposed of in this manner because the associated costs of training, and the time taken, would be an uneconomic means of destroying a large proportion of a surplus ammunition stockpile.

Dumping ammunition at sea is the subject of international agreements15 because it is considered to be either hazardous or industrial waste. Even if a state is not party to such an agreement, it is unlikely that it would receive international donor assistance to dispose of its surplus ammunition in this manner.

There would also potentially be a very strong negative reaction from international environmental groups.

The most realistic disposal method is therefore destruction. Stockpile destruction can be defined as 'the process of final conversion of weapons, ammunition and explosives into an inert state that can no longer function as designed' (SEESAC, 2006a, Annexe B). The effective management of stockpile destruction planning and operational activities aims physically to destroy ammunition in a safe, cost-effective, and efficient manner.

Physical destruction methods available range from relatively simple Open Burning and Open Detonation (OBOD) techniques to highly sophisticated industrial processes. The detailed arguments for and against each process are beyond the scope of this chapter but it is important to note that selection of the most appropriate destruction technique will depend primarily on a range of factors that include: (a) the donor resources available; (b) the physical condition of the stockpile; (c) the quantity of ammunition in terms of economies of scale; (d) national capacities; and (e) national explosive safety and environmental legislation.