Protection against explosive and ballistic threats

On the ISL proving ground experiments are conducted in the field of protection against explosive and ballistic threats for mobile platforms and infrastructure. The different facilities are equipped with measurement techniques as e.g. flash x-ray, highspeed cameras etc. to investigate the response and effectiveness of different protective solutions.

Characteristics of feasible tests:

  • explosive mass
  • ballistic tests up to 60 mm caliber
  • high-speed imaging and videography with cameras and flash x-ray
  • 3D Digital Image Correlation for full-field dynamic deformation measurements
  • measurements of blast effects in free-field and in closed infrastructure with pressure transducers

External Ballistics

Multipurpose free-flight outdoor testing range tailored for flat firing of free-flight models, including i.e spin- and/or fin-stabilised projectiles and space vehicles

Technical Features

  • 4 inert–round firing lines from 50 m up to 1000 m
  • Secure stop sand butts
  • Launchers from small calibers (20 mm) to large calibers (155 mm)
  • Equipped trailers or launch control shelters
  • Maximum Mach numbers range between 0.6 < M < 5.0
  • Qualified and experienced personnel, both in service and experimental, for handling and assessing ammunitions

Firing line 240 m

  • 2 optical trajectory trackers for the determination of trajectory and attitude
  • Setup on both sides of the firing line
ISL layon


  • gun chamber and muzzle pressure,
  • projectile velocity measured by continuous Doppler radar (0.5 and 3 W, 10 GHz)
  • attitude measurements using embedded electronics (3D magnetic sensor technique with telemetry or on-board recording)
  • visualization of the vehicle behaviour, attitude and position measurements by use of a 3D high-speed optical system
  • Base pressure measurements in flight
  • soft recovery systems
  • strike coordinates

Terminal ballistics

A special test facility is used to conduct terminal ballistic tests in the medium caliber size up to 60 mm, but also to study protection against shaped charges. The test facility is equipped with flash x-ray tubes and high speed cameras.

Characteristics of feasible tests:

  • powder guns up to 60 mm caliber
  • shaped charges
  • multi exposure flash x-ray imaging with 20 ns exposure times

Internal ballistics

120-mm ignition simulator

The instrumented 120-mm simulator enables to investigate the ignition of propelling charges and the flame spreading in the propellant bed.

Technical features

  • Same chamber profile as 120 mm gun
  • Conventional or plasma ignitions
  • Max. pressure: 200 MPa
  • Burst disc
  • Pressure and spectroscopic measurements
  • Instrumentation ports: 28 + 2 sensors
120 mm ignition simulator

Gun systems from caliber 12.7 to 60 mm

Several different guns systems are at disposal to test and evaluate solid propellants and specific ignition technologies.

Technical features

  • 12.7 mm gun
    (max. pressure = 380 MPa)
    option: caseless telescoped ammunition
  • 20 mm gun
    (max. pressure = 500 MPa)
    pyrotechnic ignition
  • 60 mm gun
    (max. pressure = 450 MPa)
    pyrotechnic or plasma ignition

Acoustic and physiological protection

Tests realised on the ISL proving ground in the field of acoustics and soldier protection are determined to evaluate the efficiency of soldier’s hearing protections and body armour.

The intensity of blast waves induced by the detonation of explosives can also be characterised on this proving ground.


  • Artificial Head (ISL Acoustic Test Fixture, Norm ANSI/ASA-S12.42-2010)
  • Pressure sensors (rod probes, overpressure between 350 and 3500 kPa)
  • Acoustic sensors (microphones for sound levels between 30 and 180 dB, frequencies between 20 and 140 kHz)
  • Scanning Laser Vibrometer (measuring of the deformation field)
  • High-speed video: 40 000 images per second

Characteristics of feasible tests:

  • Explosive charges weighing between a few grams and 4 kg
  • Lpeak from 130 dB to 205 dB
  • Typical impulse duration 1 - 2 ms

Energetic materials formulation and processing

The E3 pyrotechnic laboratory on ISL proving ground is designed to process energetic materials and energetic formulations (propellants, pyrotechnics…). This new laboratory can afford versatile processing and formulation methods as well as machining of energetic materials. Its 6 independent working cells are remotely operated and rely on state of the art safety systems.

Certified institute       A joint initiative Member of "Institut Carnot MICA" Joint laboratory


      AID ministere armees       bundesministerium der verteidigung

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