Lightning represents a major natural hazard for both equipment and personnel and very much so for ordnance items which contain energetic material. These latter items reside within special to purpose facilities, in special load carriers and in addition, through potential accident, can find themselves damaged and ‘inadvertently out in the field’. In the latter case there are a host of possible scenarios, configurations and levels of potential risk in the presence of a thunderstorm. A sound lightning protection rationale is necessary to cover all of these cases. Each needs to take cognisance of good practice, national standards and the need to avoid the pitfalls which undermine what was apparently, a sound scheme. Recent work in the field of lightning protection has shown that there are still phenomena which are not fully understood and that lightning protection continues to be an evolving subject. Examples are given of generic risk assessment approaches, the potential pitfalls and of the current activities aimed at developing ‘in field’ safety methodology.