At Brimstone we strive to make the world of UXO simple and accessible for our clients, which is why we’ve developed a handy guide on some of the UXO acronyms you might come across when acquiring our services.

UXO acronyms and definitions

AA: Anti-Aircraft
Anti-aircraft refers to defensive measures or weapons specifically designed to target and engage aircraft. As part of the UK’s defence against air attacks in WWI and WWII, various types of guns were utilised to engage enemy aircraft.

AAA: Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Anti-aircraft artillery refers to artillery specifically designed to target and destroy aircraft and defend against aerial threats.

ALARP: As Low As Reasonably Practicable
ALARP is a risk management concept used in various industries, including engineering, safety, and finance to ensure that risks are reduced to the lowest possible level, taking into consideration both the associated costs and the potential benefits.

AP: Anti-Personnel
Devices, weapons, or strategies designed or intended to target and harm people. These include landmines, hand grenades and cluster munitions to name just a few examples.

ARP: Air Raid Precautions
A set of civil defence measures and preparations implemented during times of war or conflict, especially in response to the threat of aerial bombings or air raids. The term became widely used during WWII were precautions involved manning air-raid sirens, issuing gas masks, enforcing ‘blackouts’ and reporting bomb incidents.

BAC: Battle Area Clearance
Refers to the systematic and controlled clearance of hazardous areas where the hazards are known not to include mines. The purpose of Battle Area Clearance is to render the area safe for civilians and to allow for the resumption of normal activities such as agriculture, infrastructure development, and resettlement.

BD: Bombing Density
The term “bombing density” takes into account both the quantity and distribution of bombs or munitions within a given space. High bombing density implies a large number of bombs concentrated in a relatively small area, while low bombing density indicates a more dispersed distribution over a larger region.

Bgl: Below Ground Level
A reference to measurements or locations that are situated beneath the surface of the ground. This term is commonly used in construction and engineering when discussing elevations or depths below the established ground level.

CMD: Conventional Munitions Disposal
Refers to the process of safely identifying, handling, and disposing of conventional munitions.

CPT: Cone Penetration Testing or Cone Penetrometer Testing
At Brimstone we use our CPT rigs to survey beneath the surface and detect buried ferrous objects. This involves pushing a cone-shaped probe, equipped with sensors, into the ground to the maximum bomb penetration depth. Where anomalies are detected, the data will be analysed and assessed by our in-house geophysicists. If an anomaly models the characteristics of a UXB, our operations team will discuss and plan the next step in the UXO risk mitigation process.

DRA: Detailed Risk Assessment
A Detailed UXO Risk Assessment, also known as a Stage 2 Risk Assessment, is an in-depth look at your project site to evaluate the range of ways WWI and WWII action and Allied activity could have led to UXO contamination and how modern construction methods, including human factors, affect the likelihood of encountering UXO. The information gathered is then used to assess the UXO risk, providing a comprehensive risk rating along with any recommended further actions.

EDRA: Expedited Detailed Risk Assessment
An Expedited Detailed Risk Assessment is an alternative to our Detailed UXO Risk Assessments. It is still considered a stage 2 UXO risk assessment and undergoes the same extensive research process, but it has a faster turnaround time and contains more concise information which makes it easier and quicker to understand.

EO: Explosive Ordnance
Explosive Ordnance encompasses a wide range of explosive devices used for military, paramilitary, or terrorist purposes. Explosive ordnance includes items such as bombs, mines, rockets, and other types of munitions that contain explosives.

EOC: Explosive Ordnance Clearance
The process of systematically locating, identifying, and safely removing or neutralising explosive ordnance from a designated area.

EOD: Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Refers to activities focused on the detection, identification, evaluation, and disposal of explosive devices. These devices can include unexploded munitions, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines, and other potentially hazardous explosive materials.

ERW: Explosive Remnants of War
Explosive devices that remain unexploded or partially exploded after conflicts, military operations, or training exercises have concluded. These remnants pose a significant threat to civilian populations, as they may explode upon contact or disturbance, causing injuries or fatalities. ERW can include various types of explosive ordnance, such as bombs, artillery shells, grenades, landmines, and other munitions.

GI: Ground Investigation
Ground investigation refers to the systematic process of gathering information about the composition, structure, and properties of the subsurface layers of the Earth. This investigation is typically conducted to understand the geological, geotechnical, and hydrological conditions of a specific site.

HE: High-Explosive
High-explosive refers to a type of explosive material characterised by its ability to release a large amount of energy in the form of an explosion. These materials are designed to produce a significant blast effect, causing damage primarily through the release of energy in the form of a shockwave and heat.

HSE: Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It prevents work-related death, injury and ill health.

IB: Incendiary Bomb
A type of munition designed to start fires by utilising materials that ignite upon impact. These bombs are specifically engineered to cause damage through fire rather than relying solely on explosive force.

IED: Improvised Explosive Device
A type of explosive device that is constructed and deployed in an unconventional manner, often by non-professional individuals or groups. IEDs are commonly associated with terrorism and insurgencies, as they are used as weapons against military forces, law enforcement, or civilian targets. The term “improvised” indicates that these devices are created using non-standard or readily available materials.

IMAS: International Mine Action Standards
The International Mine Action Standards are a set of guidelines and technical standards established to promote the effective and safe management of mine action activities worldwide. These standards are developed and maintained by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in collaboration with various stakeholders, including governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and international agencies.

LSA: Land Service Ammunition
Generally refers to ammunition designed and used for ground-based military operations.

MOD: Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence is the department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by the UK Government, and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces.

PRA: Preliminary Risk Assessment
A Preliminary UXO Risk Assessment, also known as a Stage 1 Risk Assessment, is a qualitative screening exercise to assess the likelihood of discovering UXO on your project site. This entails a thorough examination of the proposed site, investigating any enemy action or military activity on or near the land. The information gathered is then used to assess the UXO risk, providing a comprehensive risk rating along with any recommended further actions.

QA: Quality Assurance
A systematic process and set of activities designed to ensure that a product, service, or process meets specified requirements and standards.

RAF: Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the air and space force of the United Kingdom. It was formed on 1st April 1918, making it one of the oldest independent air forces in the world.

RFC: Royal Flying Cops
The Royal Flying Corps was the air arm of the British Army before and during WWI until it merged with the Royal Naval Air Service on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.

ROF: Royal Ordnance Factory
A series of munitions and weapons manufacturing facilities that were established in the UK during and after WWII. These factories played a significant role in supplying the British military with various arms, ammunition, and explosives.

RN: Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the maritime branch of the United Kingdom’s armed forces and is one of the oldest naval forces in the world.

RNAS: Royal Navy Air Service
The Royal Naval Air Service was the air arm of the Royal Navy before it was merged with the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force.

SAA: Small Arms Ammunition
Small arms ammunition refers to cartridges specifically designed for use in firearms. These cartridges typically consist of a projectile (bullet), propellant (gunpowder or similar material), and a primer.

SI: Site Investigation
Refers to the process of collecting information and data about a specific location, typically to assess its suitability for a particular purpose, such as construction, environmental management, or geological study. The investigation aims to gather relevant data that helps in making informed decisions and mitigating potential risks associated with the site.

SIP: Self-Igniting Phosphorus
A self-igniting phosphorus grenade, also known as a No. 76 grenade, was an incendiary grenade used during WWII. It was a simple anti-tank weapon issued to Home Guard battalions throughout the UK. Each grenade contained a mixture of white Phosphorus, benzine, water, and a strip of rubber. A glass bottle with a crown stopper provided the container.

USAAF: United States Army Air Force
The United States Army Air Forces was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after WWII, from 1941 to 1947. It was created to centralise control of the various aviation units of the Army and to expand the Army’s capabilities in air combat.

UXB: Unexploded Bomb
An unexploded bomb refers to a munition or explosive device that has been deployed but has failed to detonate as intended. These devices can pose serious risks to human safety and the surrounding environment. Unexploded bombs can come in various forms, including artillery shells, bombs, grenades, or other types of explosive ordnance.

UXO: Unexploded Ordnance
Explosive ordnance which has been primed, fuzed, armed or otherwise prepared for action, and which has been buried, dropped, fired, launched, projected, thrown, or placed in such a manner as to constitute a hazard to material, installations, operations, or personnel and remains unexploded either by design or malfunction or for any other cause.

This certainly isn’t a definitive list, but it hopefully gives you a starting point if you’re new to the world of unexploded ordnance!

UXO Specialists

Did you know, Brimstone UXO is the only Ministry of Defence assured explosive ordnance clearance and conventional munitions disposal contractor in the UK?

If you need UXO risk mitigation support, get in touch with our Commercial Team by emailing or calling 020 7117 2492.

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A guide to uxo acronyms