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In military munitions, a fuze (sometimes fuse) is the part of the device that initiates function. In some applications, such as torpedoes, a fuze may be identified by function as the exploder.The relative complexity of even the earliest fuze designs can be seen in cutaway diagrams.
A modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with its target or in proximity to it.
A fuze is a device that detonates a munition's explosive material under specified conditions. In addition, a fuze will have safety and arming mechanisms that protect users from premature or accidental detonation.For example, an artillery fuze's battery is activated by the high acceleration of cannon launch, and the fuze must be spinning rapidly before it will function. "Complete bore safety" can be achieved with mechanical shutters that isolate the detonator from the main charge until the shell is fired.
A fuze may contain only the electronic or mechanical elements necessary to signal or actuate the detonator, but some fuzes contain a small amount of primary explosive to initiate the detonation. Fuzes for large explosive charges may include an explosive booster.
A detonator, frequently a blasting cap, is a device used to trigger an explosive device. Detonators can be chemically, mechanically, or electrically initiated, the latter two being the most common.
An explosive booster is a sensitive explosive charge that acts as a bridge between a conventional detonator and a low-sensitivity explosive such as TNT. By itself, the initiating detonator would not deliver sufficient energy to set off the low-sensitivity charge. However, it detonates the primary charge, which then delivers an explosive shockwave that is sufficient to detonate the secondary, main, high-energy charge.
Professional publications about explosives and munitions distinguish the "fuse" and "fuze" spelling.The UK Ministry of Defence states (emphasis in original):
The Ministry of Defence is the British government department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by Her Majesty's Government and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces.
In typography, emphasis is the strengthening of words in a text with a font in a different style from the rest of the text, to highlight them. It is the equivalent of prosodic stress in speech.
Oliver Hogg states the following about fuze:
Historically, it was spelled with either 's' or 'z', and both spellings can still be found.In the United States and some military forces, fuze is used to denote a sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components (for example a proximity fuze for an artillery shell, magnetic/acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze, pencil detonator or anti-handling device) as opposed to a simple burning fuse.
Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter.
A proximity fuze is a fuze that detonates an explosive device automatically when the distance to the target becomes smaller than a predetermined value. Proximity fuzes are designed for targets such as planes, missiles, ships at sea, and ground forces. They provide a more sophisticated trigger mechanism than the common contact fuze or timed fuze. It is estimated that it increases the lethality by 5 to 10 times, compared to these other fuzes.
A magnetometer is a device that measures magnetism—the direction, strength, or relative change of a magnetic field at a particular location. The measurement of the magnetization of a magnetic material is an example. A compass is one such device, one that measures the direction of an ambient magnetic field, in this case, the Earth's magnetic field.
The situation of usage and the characteristics of the munition it is intended to activate affect the fuze design e.g. its safety and actuation mechanisms.
Artillery fuzes are tailored to function in the special circumstances of artillery projectiles. The relevant factors are the projectile's initial rapid acceleration, high velocity and usually rapid rotation, which affect both safety and arming requirements and options, and the target may be moving or stationary.
Artillery fuzes may be initiated by a timer mechanism, impact or detection of proximity to the target, or a combination of these.
Requirements for a hand grenade fuze are defined by the projectile's small size and slow delivery over a short distance. This necessitates manual arming before throwing as the grenade has insufficient initial acceleration for arming to be driven by "setback" and no rotation to drive arming by centrifugal force.
Aerial bombs can be detonated either by a fuze, which contains a small explosive charge to initiate the main charge, or by a "pistol", a firing pin in a case which strikes the detonator when triggered.The pistol may be considered a part of the mechanical fuze assembly.
The main design consideration is that the bomb that the fuze is intended to actuate is stationary, and the target itself is moving in making contact.
Relevant design factors in naval mine fuzes are that the mine may be static or moving downward through the water, and the target is typically moving on or below the water surface, usually above the mine.
Time fuzes detonate after a set period of time by using one or more combinations of mechanical, electronic, pyrotechnic or even chemical timers. Depending on the technology used, the device may self-destruct(or render itself safe without detonation ) some seconds, minutes, hours, days, or even months after being deployed.
Early artillery time fuzes were nothing more than a hole filled with gunpowder leading from the surface to the centre of the projectile. The flame from the burning of the gunpowder propellant ignited this "fuze" on firing, and burned through to the centre during flight, then igniting or exploding whatever the projectile may have been filled with.
By the 19th century devices more recognisable as modern artillery "fuzes" were being made of carefully selected wood and trimmed to burn for a predictable time after firing. These were still typically fired from smoothbore muzzle-loaders with a relatively large gap between the shell and barrel, and still relied on flame from the gunpowder propellant charge escaping past the shell on firing to ignite the wood fuze and hence initiate the timer.
In the mid-to-late 19th century adjustable metal time fuzes, the fore-runners of today's time fuzes, containing burning gunpowder as the delay mechanism became common, in conjunction with the introduction of rifled artillery. Rifled guns introduced a tight fit between shell and barrel and hence could no longer rely on the flame from the propellant to initiate the timer. The new metal fuzes typically use the shock of firing ("setback") and/or the projectiles's rotation to "arm" the fuze and initiate the timer : hence introducing a safety factor previously absent.
During World War I, mechanical, or clockwork, time fuzes were introduced for artillery by Germany, and some variants are still in use.[ citation needed ]
As late as World War I, some countries were still using hand-grenades with simple black match fuses much like those of modern fireworks: the infantryman lit the fuse before throwing the grenade and hoped the fuse burned for the several seconds intended. These were soon superseded in 1915 by the Mills bomb, the first modern hand grenade with a relatively safe and reliable time fuze initiated by pulling out a safety pin and releasing an arming handle on throwing.
Modern time fuzes often use an electronic delay system.
Impact, percussion or contact fuzes detonate when their forward motion rapidly decreases, typically on physically striking an object such as the target. The detonation may be instantaneous or deliberately delayed to occur a preset fraction of a second after penetration of the target. An instantaneous "Superquick" fuze will detonate instantly on the slightest physical contact with the target. A fuze with a graze action will also detonate on change of direction caused by a slight glancing blow on a physical obstruction such as the ground.
Impact fuzes in artillery usage may be mounted in the shell nose ("point detonating") or shell base ("base detonating").
Proximity fuzes cause a missile warhead or other munition (e.g. air-dropped bomb or sea mine) to detonate when it comes within a certain pre-set distance of the target, or vice versa. Proximity fuzes utilize sensors incorporating one or more combinations of the following: radar, active sonar, passive acoustic, infrared, magnetic, photoelectric, seismic or even television cameras. These may take the form of an anti-handling device designed specifically to kill or severely injure anyone who tampers with the munition in some way e.g. lifting or tilting it. Regardless of the sensor used, the pre-set triggering distance is calculated such that the explosion will occur sufficiently close to the target that it is either destroyed or severely damaged.
Remote detonators use wires or radio waves to remotely command the device to detonate.
Barometric fuzes cause a bomb to detonate at a certain pre-set altitude above sea level by means of a radar, barometric altimeter or an infrared rangefinder.
A fuze assembly may include more than one fuze in series or parallel arrangements. The RPG-7 usually has an impact (PIBD) fuze in parallel with a 4.5 second time fuze, so detonation should occur on impact, but otherwise takes place after 4.5 seconds. Military weapons containing explosives have fuzing systems including a series time fuze to ensure that they do not initiate (explode) prematurely within a danger distance of the munition launch platform. In general, the munition has to travel a certain distance, wait for a period of time (via a clockwork, electronic or chemical delay mechanism), or have some form of arming pin or plug removed. Only when these processes have occurred will the arming process of the series time fuze be complete. Mines often have a parallel time fuze to detonate and destroy the mine after a pre-determined period to minimize casualties after the anticipated duration of hostilities. Detonation of modern naval mines may require simultaneous detection of a series arrangement of acoustic, magnetic, and/or pressure sensors to complicate mine-sweeping efforts.
The multiple safety/arming features in the M734 mortar fuze are representative of the sophistication of modern electronic fuzes.
Safety/arming mechanisms can be as simple as the spring-loaded safety levers on M67 or RGD-5 grenade fuzes, which will not initiate the explosive train so long as the pin is kept in the grenade, or the safety lever is held down on a pinless grenade. Alternatively, it can be as complex as the electronic timer-countdown on an influence sea mine, which gives the vessel laying it sufficient time to move out of the blast zone before the magnetic or acoustic sensors are fully activated.
In modern artillery shells, most fuzes incorporate several safety features to prevent a fuze arming before it leaves the gun barrel. These safety features may include arming on "setback" or by centrifugal force, and often both operating together. Set-back arming uses the inertia of the accelerating artillery shell to remove a safety feature as the projectile accelerates from rest to its in-flight speed. Rotational arming requires that the artillery shell reach a certain rpm before centrifugal forces cause a safety feature to disengage or move an arming mechanism to its armed position. Artillery shells are fired through a rifled barrel, which forces them to spin during flight.
In other cases the bomb, mine or projectile has a fuze that prevents accidental initiation e.g. stopping the rotation of a small propeller (unless a lanyard pulls out a pin) so that the striker-pin cannot hit the detonator even if the weapon is dropped on the ground. These types of fuze operate with aircraft weapons, where the weapon may have to be jettisoned over friendly territory to allow a damaged aircraft to continue to fly. The crew can choose to jettison the weapons safe by dropping the devices with safety pins still attached, or drop them live by removing the safety pins as the weapons leave the aircraft.
Aerial bombs and depth charges can be nose and tail fuzed using different detonator/initiator characteristics so that the crew can choose which effect fuze will suit target conditions that may not have been known before the flight. The arming switch is set to one of safe, nose, or tail at the crew's choice.
Base fuzes are also used by artillery and tanks for shells of the 'squash head' type. Some types of armour piercing shells have also used base fuzes, as have nuclear artillery shells.
The most sophisticated fuze mechanisms of all are those fitted to nuclear weapons, and their safety/arming devices are correspondingly complex. In addition to PAL protection, the fuzing used in nuclear weapons features multiple, highly sophisticated environmental sensors e.g. sensors requiring highly specific acceleration and deceleration profiles before the warhead can be fully armed. The intensity and duration of the acceleration/deceleration must match the environmental conditions which the bomb/missile warhead would actually experience when dropped or fired. Furthermore, these events must occur in the correct order.
Note: some fuzes, e.g. those used in air-dropped bombs and landmines may contain anti-handling devices specifically designed to kill bomb disposal personnel. The technology to incorporate booby-trap mechanisms in fuzes has existed since at least 1940 e.g. the German ZUS40 anti-removal bomb fuze.
A fuze must be designed to function appropriately considering relative movement of the munition with respect to its target. The target may move past stationary munitions like land mines or naval mines; or the target may be approached by a rocket, torpedo, artillery shell, or air-dropped bomb. Timing of fuze function may be described as optimum if detonation occurs when target damage will be maximized, early if detonation occurs prior to optimum, late if detonation occurs past optimum, or dud if the munition fails to detonate. Any given batch of a specific design may be tested to determine the anticipated percentage of early, optimum. late, and dud expected from that fuze installation.
Combination fuze design attempts to maximize optimum detonation while recognizing dangers of early fuze function (and potential dangers of late function for subsequent occupation of the target zone by friendly forces or for gravity return of anti-aircraft munitions used in defense of surface positions.) Series fuze combinations minimize early function by detonating at the latest activation of the individual components. Series combinations are useful for safety arming devices, but increase the percentage of late and dud munitions. Parallel fuze combinations minimize duds by detonating at the earliest activation of individual components, but increase the possibility of premature early function of the munition. Sophisticated military munition fuzes typically contain an arming device in series with a parallel arrangement of sensing fuzes for target destruction and a time fuze for self-destruction if no target is detected.
The GATOR mine system is a United States military system of air-dropped anti-tank and anti-personnel mines developed in the 1980s to be compatible with existing cluster dispensers. It is used with two dispenser systems—the Navy 230 kg (500 lb) CBU-78/B and the Air Force 450 kg (1,000 lb) CBU-89/B. Additionally the mines are used with the land- and helicopter-based Volcano mine system.
A booby trap is a device or setup that is intended to kill, harm, or surprise a person or animal, unknowingly triggered by the presence or actions of the victim. As the word trap implies, they sometimes have some form of bait designed to lure the victim towards it. At other times, the trap is set to act upon trespassers that violate personal or restricted areas. The device can be triggered when the victim performs some type of everyday action, e.g., opening a door, picking something up, or switching something on. They can also be triggered by vehicles driving along a road, as in the case of victim-operated improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile that, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot. Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used. Originally, it was called a "bombshell", but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context.
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device, or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately. However, when being specific, the term fuse describes a simple pyrotechnic initiating device, like the cord on a firecracker whereas the term fuze is sometimes used when referring to a more sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components, such as a proximity fuze for an M107 artillery shell, magnetic or acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze, pencil detonator, or anti-handling device.
A firing pin or striker is part of the firing mechanism used in a firearm or explosive device. Firing pins may take many forms, though the types used in fuzes for single-use devices generally have a sharpened point. In contrast, firing pins used in firearms usually have a small, rounded portion designed to strike the primer of a cartridge, detonating the priming compound, which then ignites the propellant (inside) or fires the detonator and booster.
An air burst or airburst is the detonation of an explosive device such as an anti-personnel artillery shell or a nuclear weapon in the air instead of on contact with the ground or target or a delayed armor-piercing explosion. The principal military advantage of an air burst over a ground burst is that the energy from the explosion is distributed more evenly over a wider area; however, the peak energy is lower at ground zero.
The Gammon bomb, officially known as the No. 82 grenade was a British hand grenade used during World War II.
The British No. 69 was a hand grenade developed and used during the Second World War. It was adopted into service due to the need for a grenade with smaller destructive radius than the No. 36M "Mills bomb". This allowed the thrower to use a grenade even when there was little in the way of defensive cover. In contrast, the much greater destructive radius of the Mills bomb than its throwing range forced users to choose their throwing point carefully, in order to ensure that they would not be wounded by the shrapnel explosion of their own grenade.
A Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) is an artillery or surface-to-surface missile warhead designed to burst into sub-munitions at an optimum altitude and distance from the desired target for dense area coverage. The sub-munitions use both explosively formed penetrators for anti-armor work and fragmentation for antipersonnel work. Some sub-munitions may be designed for delayed reaction or mobility denial (mines). The air-to-surface variety of this kind of munition is better known as a cluster bomb. They are banned by some countries under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
The M86 Pursuit Deterrent Munition (PDM) is a small United States anti-personnel mine intended to be used by special forces to deter pursuing enemy forces.
The PMN series of blast anti-personnel mines were designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. They are one of the most widely used and commonly found devices during demining operations.
The M7 is a small, metal-cased United States anti-tank blast mine that was used during the Second World War. It was based on the British Hawkins grenade. Approximately 2.5 million were produced before production ceased, and although it has long since been withdrawn from U.S. service, it can be found in Angola, Burma, Cambodia, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Korea, Lebanon, Myanmar, Somalia, Thailand, and Zambia.
An anti-handling device is an attachment to—or an integral part of—a landmine or other munition e.g. some fuze types found in general purpose air-dropped bombs, cluster bombs and sea mines. It is designed to prevent tampering. When the protected device is disturbed, it detonates, killing or injuring anyone within the blast area. There is a strong functional overlap of booby traps and anti-handling devices.
The MEI HELLHOUND 40 mm Low Velocity Multi-Purpose Grenade is a fixed type ammunition designed to be fired from a 40 mm Grenade Launcher such as the M79, M203, M320, or Milkor MK-1. The round consists of an A5 filled metal projectile body with a rotating band, a point initiating-base detonating fuze with Safe and Arm technology, and a cartridge case assembly. Upon impact with the target, the firing pin is driven into the detonator, which in turn initiates the spit backcharge, producing a jet which initiates the explosive train from the base forward, resulting in an armor-piercing jet of molten metal and fragmentation of the projectile body. The MEI Hellhound uses the same High-Low Propulsion System as other popular 40mm grenade launchers, which keeps the recoil forces in bounds for an infantry small arm.
Ammunition is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon. Ammunition is both expendable weapons and the component parts of other weapons that create the effect on a target. Nearly all mechanical weapons require some form of ammunition to operate.
A grenade is an explosive weapon typically thrown by hand, but can also refer to projectiles shot out of grenade launchers. Generally, a grenade consists of an explosive charge, a detonating mechanism, and firing pin inside the grenade to trigger the detonating mechanism. Once the soldier throws the grenade, the safety lever releases, the striker throws the safety lever away from the grenade body as it rotates to detonate the primer. The primer explodes and ignites the fuze. The fuze burns down to the detonator, which explodes the main charge.
An artillery fuze or fuse is the type of munition fuze used with artillery munitions, typically projectiles fired by guns, howitzers and mortars. A fuze is a device that initiates an explosive function in a munition, most commonly causing it to detonate or release its contents, when its activation conditions are met. This action typically occurs a preset time after firing, or on physical contact with or detected proximity to the ground, a structure or other target. Fuze, a variant of fuse, is the official NATO spelling.
A contact fuze, impact fuze, percussion fuze or direct-action (D.A.) fuze (UK) is the fuze that is placed in the nose of a bomb or shell so that it will detonate on contact with a hard surface.
The number 106 fuze was the first British instantaneous percussion artillery fuze, first tested in action in late 1916 and deployed in volume in early 1917.
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