Ammunition and IED Effects

Contact information

For further information or to request a quotation, please contact the Professional Education Courses Unit on:

Enquiries Phone: 02 5114 5573

Enquiries Email:

In-house delivery

UNSW Canberra Professional Education Courses may be available for in-house delivery at your organisation's premises. In-house courses allow maximum attendance without the additional travel costs. Courses can be developed to suit the specific staff development and training needs of your organisation. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

This three-day course is an amalgamation of the previously–advertised courses on bombs, bullets, blast and fragments and improvised explosive devices. The course aims to look at the traditional threats such as conventional ammunition that could pose harm as well as the improvised explosive devices that can cause substantial risk to human safety. Importantly, this course will look at the effects of such devices once initiated rather than how the devices are deployed and triggered.

Attendees will receive a set of notes covering the lecture content.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLO)

After completing this course, the student will be able to: 

  1. Identify different types of gun-fired projectiles and their respective effects on a target.
  2. Describe how a shaped-charge-type projectile operates and the resultant effect on a target.
  3. List the various ways of how explosives can function.
  4. Describe the factors that affect fragment size in a fragmenting munition.
  5. Recognise the differences between different generations of anti-tank mines.
  6. Describe how projectiles (including fragments) penetrate targets.
  7. Calculate penetration depths from projectiles.
  8. Calculate blast pressures.
  9. Describe what is meant by the term ‘bunker buster’.
  10. Evaluate the difference between different types of IED approaches.
  11. Describe the effects of fragment penetration and blast on the human body.


Day 1: A science or engineering background is helpful but not necessary.

Days 2-3: A science or engineering tertiary qualification is desirable.


'This course provided me with a much better understanding of how explosive and armour defeating ammunition operates'. 30/04/2019

'Face to face interaction with a specialist in the area was invaluable. It meant nuances in the content were easily explained and questions that extended the subject matter were not outside the lecturer’s scope of knowledge either'. 30/04/2019.




Paul has over 20 years of experience studying the impact behaviour of materials. He has recently moved to Canberra, Australia from the UK to take up the post of Professor of Impact Dynamics at UNSW Canberra. Before taking this position he was Head of the Centre for Ordnance Science and Technology at Cranfield University’s Shrivenham campus (at the UK Defence Academy). He has published extensively, appeared in several documentaries and presented his research work at numerous symposia. He has published two books on protection technologies with the most recent called ‘ARMOUR: Materials, Theory, and Design’ (CRC Press). 


Course Information

Day 1

Light weapons and bullets
Overview of light weapon gun systems | How they function | Propellants | Cartridges | Bullet design | Bullet effects | Penetration mechanics.

Larger calibre projectiles 
Overview of tank guns | Recoil | Projectile types | Projectile effects.

Explosives I (introduction)
Detonation | Examples of explosives | Effects of blast on people and structures | Engineering principles to protect building occupants from blast | Case studies

Shaped charge and explosively-formed projectiles (EFPs)
History | Design | Operation | Integration into warheads | Lethality

Day 2 

Fragmentation munitions and their effects
How fragments are formed (Mott fragmentation theory) |Prediction of fragment velocities (Gurney) & air drag theory | Fragment penetration mechanisms | Penetration prediction (de Marre & Recht)

Anti-personnel mines | Anti-tank mines | Mine construction | Effects on vehicles | Protecting vehicle occupants

Terminal effects
Penetration mechanisms | Failure mechanisms | Low-velocity impact | de Marre theory | High-velocity impact |Hydrodynamic penetration theory 

Practical exercise: Terminal effects
Worked examples will be presented and discussed and students given the opportunity to do their own calculations.

Practical exercise: Blast

Worked examples will be presented and discussed and students given the opportunity to do their own calculations.

Air weapons
Missiles vs gun attack | Anti-aircraft weapon concepts | Bunker busters | Concrete penetration equations 

Day 3 

Explosives II
Unconventional explosives (improvised) | Explosive calculations

Introduction to IEDs
Different types (e.g., suicide vests to VBIEDs) | effects | mitigation and disposal

Practical exercise: IEDs
Worked examples will be presented and discussed and students given the opportunity to do their own calculations.

The vulnerability of the human body
Human response to ballistic loading | Human response to blast loading | How bullets and fragments penetrate | Injury criteria | Primary, secondary and tertiary blast injuries.

Optional Test
An optional test will be made available for students seeking credit.

Courses will be held subject to sufficient registrations. UNSW Canberra reserves the right to cancel a course up to five working days prior to commencement of the course. If a course is cancelled, you will have the opportunity to transfer your registration or be issued a full refund. If registrant cancels within 10 days of course commencement, a 50% registration fee will apply. UNSW Canberra is a registered ACT provider under ESOS Act 2000-CRICOS provider Code 00098G.