13 Sep 2017

UK national requirement for energetic materials to be formalised

A new Centre of Excellence in Energetic Materials (CoEEM) has been established with the aim of delivering a UK national capability in explosives and energetic materials.

Led by the UK Government, CoEEM aims to collaborate with UK-wide organisations and academic centres to deliver coordinated research, training, test and evaluation services and act as a forum for knowledge exchange.

It will also provide technical leadership, guidance and advice on programme formulation, direction, content and investment decisions with support and engagement from the wider energetics materials community.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Defence Ordnance Safety Group (DOSG), a subgroup of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), and Cranfield University are facilitating the project.

Kevin Wagstaff, Head of the Counter Terrorist and Security Division, Dstl said: “Energetic materials research, development and manufacture are key capabilities for the UK.

“A new strategy and technical plan are required to maintain and sustain the UK’s energetics capability. Developing and delivering this plan will require the disparate elements of the community to come together.”

CoEEM aims to achieve this by pulling together and championing essential national capability around a ‘virtual’ organisation hosted by Cranfield University.

The benefits of this approach will be seen through establishing a critical mass of expertise, with CoEEM providing the next generation of experts in the UK energetics field.

The Centre will also facilitate individual career development, drive collaboration—including leveraging relationships within and beyond government, as well as exploit cost efficiencies and help coordinate funding for capabilities and research.

Hugh Bellars, Head of Weapons Engineering at DE&S, said: “DE&S’ ability to acquire and support weapons in a safe, professional and efficient manner is underpinned by deep specialist expertise in our project teams and the Defence Ordnance Safety Group. Our experts require the highest level of energetic materials competence, which can only be gained through practical experience.

“To do this, our organisations are coming together to plan and deliver a joined up programme focused on our mutual needs for expertise and knowledge of energetic materials.”

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