Bombs, Blast, Bullets and Fragments

Course Group: 
Lethality and Survivability


Building off the one-day short course, Bombs, Blast, Bullets and Fragments - Overview, this two-day short course provides an overview of weapon threats and the science behind their operation. This course is aimed at individuals who require an understanding of the threat spectrum. The threats examined will include: small arms; cannon-launched projectiles; shaped charge weapon systems; explosively-formed penetrators; artillery systems; fragmenting shells; blast; mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Gun technologies and protection technologies will also be discussed.

Who Should Attend

Course Outline

Presenter Information

Dates & Registration

Duration: 2 days

Delivery mode: Classroom


Advertised: Canberra

In-house: All states and neighbouring countries, contact the  for more information. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

What you will receive:

  • Compresehensive set of course notes
  • UNSW Canberra certificate of attendance
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea

Affiliated course: Bombs, Blast, Bullets and Fragments | Overview (1 day) 




Anyone requiring an in-depth understanding of the threats facing people entering a warzone or where terrorism is anticipated including (and not limited to): design engineers; civil engineers; city planners; material scientists; systems engineers; project managers; serving officers; business managers; journalists and charity workers. It will also be of interest to and those working to combat terrorism

A science or engineering background is helpful but not necessary.




 Day 1

An overview of the threat

 KE ammunition | Small arms | APDS |APFSDS | Shaped charge |HESH| Mines | IEDs | Discussion of ammunition construction and performance

The bomb and IED threat

 Mechanics of blast | Materials and solutions | Fragmentation effects | Calculating the fragment size, velocity and penetration | Drag characteristics

Penetration mechanisms into target materials

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

 Day 2

Introduction to gun systems

 Gun construction and operation | How a gun system works | Direct fire and indirect fire examples | Ammunition types

Stress waves and shock

 Wave propagation problems | Elastic wave transmission | Plastic wave theory | Shock compression | Hugoniots |Why stress waves and shock waves are important

Human vulnerability

 How bullets and fragments penetrate | Injury criteria |Primary, secondary and tertiary blast injuries

Protection Design Strategies

 The survivability onion | Obliquity | Whittaker | Ricochet | Spacing | Material choices

More on penetration mechanics (tutorial)

 An analysis of the Recht penetration equation and fragment penetration characteristics will be discussed in a tutorial format.




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). 


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