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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #18-0012

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: United Kingdom Ministry of Defence

Individual Name: Richard Hope

Location State: Bristol Country: GB

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 29, 2018

Mr. Richard Hope
United Kingdom Ministry of Defence
Defence General Munitions Project Team
Fir 1C
Mailpoint 4115
MOD Abbey Wood
BS34 8JH

Reference No. 18-0012

Dear Mr. Hope:

This letter is in response to your January 23, 2018, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the shipment of ammunition into the United States by the United Kingdom (UK) Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Your questions are paraphrased and answered below.

Q1: You state that UK MOD is seeking to transport ammunition into the United States for use in joint training exercises and that you have applied for EX numbers in the past only to be told that EX numbers are not required for certain ammunition types. You ask if the ammunition UK MOD is transporting into the United States is required to have an EX number.

A1: Provided you are shipping ammunition that meets the exceptions in § 173.56(h), an EX number is not required.  As stated in § 173.56(h), the requirements of § 173.56 do not apply to cartridges, small arms that are:

  • Not a forbidden explosive under § 173.54;
  • Ammunition for rifle, pistol, shotgun, or tools;
  • Ammunition with inert projectile or blank ammunition; and
  • Ammunition not exceeding 50 caliber for rifle or pistol cartridges or 8 gauge for shotgun shells.

"Cartridges, small arms" meeting these criteria may be assigned a classification code of 1.4S by the manufacturer (see § 173.56(h)). The exception applies to domestically or internationally manufactured "Cartridges, small arms" that transit the United States. However, this provision does not relieve a manufacturer outside of the United States from obtaining any necessary competent authority approvals from the country of origin, transit, or overflight when the ammunition is transported.

Q2: You ask if UK MOD, as a government competent authority, can obtain an approval from the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety for the transportation of all UK MOD owned ammunition having a current UK competent authority certificate to and within the United States in accordance with § 173.56(f) and (g).

A2: The answer is yes. UK MOD may apply for a blanket approval for the shipment of its ammunition to and within the United States. Such requests should be submitted to Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety (PHH-32), Department of Transportation, East Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington DC 20590‑0001. Alternatively, the application in an appropriate format may be submitted by fax to: (202) 366-3753 or (202) 366-3308 or by email to:

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.56 New explosives-definition and procedures for classification and approval