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Shrivenham - Whoosh Bang…….A Grand Day Out

Following a highly successful visit in 2008 to the Explosives Range and Demonstration Area at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, a team of RN & VT Flagship instructors, personnel from Fleet Explosives, support staff and students from the Maritime Warfare School at HMS Collingwood returned for a day of lectures, demonstrations and practical range work.

Staff from the Technical Division at the Defence College provided a series of lectures on the development of weapons used to defeat armour and the countermeasures employed against them.  Primarily focusing on Kinetic Energy Projectiles, Shaped Charges and Explosively Formed Projectiles, the team were taken on a tour of the Ammunition Hall.  The team were then given the opportunity to put into practice their new found knowledge when they split up into groups, all set on constructing armour defeating weapons in true ‘Blue Peter’ tradition and using ‘Harry Black Maskers’ to hold it all together!

In all the teams constructed; High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) and High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) devices, a Shaped Charge using house hold materials and an Explosively Formed Projectile (EFP) which were then initiated against 1 inch steel plates. 

Not content with making loud bangs, the team were given a comprehensive brief on the development of personal weapons through the ages from muskets to the latest designs, prior to having the opportunity to fire both an SA80, with all the trimmings and compare it to an AK47 with no trimmings, again the staff were suitably impressed that the weapons were not only pointing in the right direction, but also made a mess of the targets.
In all the team were provided with an excellent insight into warhead design, the use of different weapons, their utility on the battlefield and techniques used to counter the threats posed by them.  It also provided the visiting team with visibility of EOD operations and the types of threats posed by Armour Defeating IEDs, whilst enhancing the awareness of the team into the uses, safety and dangers associated with explosives and capabilities and design limitations of personal weapons.

8th Apr 2009

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