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
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.