Experimental and numerical studies have been undertaken to examine various aspects pertaining to the interaction of an incident travelling shock wave with a solid rocket motor's head end (forward section), in order to identify any potential gasdynamic mechanism of wave reinforcement pertinent to combustion instability behaviour in these motors. A cold-flow experiment, based on a shock tube scheme tailored to the present application, has proved to be useful in providing information surrounding the interaction process. Both experimental and numerical results (CFD simulations) confirm the existence of substantial transient radial wave development superimposed on the base reflected axial shock wave. These results illustrate the potential weakness of one-dimensional flow models for certain engineering applications, where important multidimensional phenomena, such as those observed in this work, may not be captured. By analogy to actual propulsion system combustion chambers, the transverse wave activity is potentially a factor in supporting an augmentation of the local combustion rate in the head-end region of a rocket motor combustor.