Pyrotechnics, Rocketry & Explosive Science

Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) Systems

Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) systems is an advisory note, to remind, or inform the reader about the major hazards of FAE systems. This note offers guidance on the establishment of safe operating environments and procedures. It will also facilitate (developed from first principles), the formulation of a render safe procedure but the appropriate technical advice should always be taken.

Fuel Air Explosive weapons represent a relatively recent development in the weapons field. The technology of FAE weapons was primarily developed at the US Naval Weapons Centre (NWC) at China Lake, California, and this work led to the standardization of the first real operational FAE weapon, the Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU) 55/B, which saw extensive use in Vietnam.

You will find relevant diagrams and images in the website for better understanding of the subject.

This Technical Note covers following topics:

  • Introduction
  • References
  • Terms and definitions
  • Background
  • Reasons for FAE system hazard clearance
    • Current systems
    • Development.
    • Enhanced Blast Munitions (EBM) and Thermobaric muntions
    • Weaponisation
  • FAE systems.
    • Fuel Air Explosives (FAE)
    • Introduction
    • Performance of FAE systems
    • TNT equivalence
    • Blast effects
    • Upper and Lower Explosive Limits (UEL and LEL)
    • Initiation
    • Explosive initiation
    • Chemical initiation
    • Cloud formation and dispersion
  • Hazards
    • EOD hazards
    • Advice and International Responsibilities
  • Guidance on Render Safe Procedures (RSP)
    • Shaped charge attack
    • Ballistic Disc attack
    • Destruction by detonation
    • Other options
  • Equipment
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Respirator
  • Safety brief
  • Recommendations
    • National mine action authority
    • Demining organisations
    • Demining personnel
  • Annex A (Normative) References
  • Annex B (Informative) Terms and definitions
  • Annex C (Informative) Enhanced Blast and Thermobaric munitions
  • Annex D (Informative) Hazard data sheets – common fuels




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