Fuel Air Explosives

Fuel air explosives (FAE) are aerosols formed by dispersion of certain hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon oxides, viz., hexane, heptane, ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, etc. in air. These aerosols are detonable over a wide range of fuel concentrations in air and yield very high impulse blast as compared to that of conventional explosives of same weight. They are highly effective against soft targets like light vehicles, drop tank, trenches, bunkers, and antitank mines.
FAE, being in aerosol form, cover large area in comparison of condensed explosives and do not have limitations due to land contour and protective structures. They are more weight efficient, as oxygen is taken from the atmosphere for detonation, and produce high yield due to higher combustion heat of fuel.
DRDO has established technologies for FAE fuels, viz., ethylene oxide (5-60 kg) and propylene oxide (5-225 kg), nitroquanidine-based burster system, and spatial positioning of initiator. DRDO has also developed a FAE warhead for tank turning pad, and a rocket-delivered FAE warhead for clearing pressure actuated mines.
FAE warhead for tank turning pad carries 61 kg fuel (propylene oxide) and has 410 mm caliber. Rocket-delivered FAE warhead for mine clearance consists of extendable probe (mechanical), switching unit, canister, grenade ejection unit, rocket motor, and retarding tail unit with parachute. It weighs 100 kg and carries 38 kg fuel (propylene oxide). It has one 340 mm caliber and an impact range of 300-600 mm.

                                  Salient Features

  FAE warhead for tank turning pad Rocket-delivered FAE warhead for mine clearance
Antitank NDMK I mine clearance 10 m radius 16 m dia
Blast pressure 4.1 kg/cm2 at 12 m 0.8 kg/cm2 at 16 m