Munitions of War

1. General

1.1 Under the International Convention on Civil Aviation, member States have the right to control the air transport of munitions of war through their territory. However, unlike the transport of dangerous goods, there are currently no internationally agreed standards and it has been left to each individual State to develop its own requirements depending on circumstances and national needs.

1.2 The Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order contains the requirements for munitions of war; it applies to aircraft registered in a Territory, no matter where they are operating, and to aircraft registered in a country other than a Territory when they are operating in Territory airspace. In addition, there is other, non-aviation, legislation and aviation security legislation that may apply to munitions of war during their processing for air transport and after their carriage by air. Any such legislation is not covered in this OTAC; the onus is on the Operator or handling agent to ensure all relevant legislation is met when dealing with munitions of war for carriage by air.

1.3 Article 57 of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order 2007, defines munitions of war. "Weapons and ammunition" includes component parts and accessories. Where there is doubt as to whether or not a weapon, ammunition etc. is a munition of war, the OTAA should be consulted.

1.4 If a firearm is not a munition of war, it should be treated as a sporting weapon for the purposes of its carriage on an aircraft (see Chapter 6).

2. Approval to transport

Munitions of war can only be carried on aircraft with the approval of all the States concerned. These may be the States of origin, transit, overflight and destination of the consignment and that of the Operator. In the Territories each aviation authority is responsible for considering applications for the grant of an approval.

3. Conditions for transport

3.1 Once an approval has been granted, munitions of war may only be carried on an aircraft when they are stowed in a place which is inaccessible to passengers during flight and, in the case of firearms, when they are unloaded. In exceptional circumstances they may be carried under different conditions providing an appropriate approval has been granted.

3.2 No matter how it is intended that munitions of war be carried on an aircraft, the PIC must be informed before a flight of what are to be carried and where they are located.

4. Munitions of war which are also Dangerous Goods

Some munitions of war are also dangerous goods by definition e.g. ammunition, bombs, torpedoes etc. In such circumstances the requirements for the transport of dangerous goods will also apply and where these indicate that an exemption or specific approval is needed, this is separate to that applicable to them as munitions of war. 

5. Reporting of Incidents

Incidents which arise from the transport of munitions of war should be reported in accordance with OTAR Part 13, no matter whether they are contained in cargo, mail, passengers' baggage or crew baggage. An initial report must be made within 72 hours of the incident unless exceptional circumstances prevent this. The initial report may be made by any means but a written report should be made as soon as possible. The report should be comprehensive and contain all data known at the time it is compiled; if all relevant information is not available at first, the initial report should be sent stating what is known and a follow-up report sent when the full details are available.


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