AIAA 97-2961, Proceedings of 33rd Joint Propulsion Conference, Seattle, WA, July 1997.


Daniel R. Knick
Barry Neyer
Elton (Al) E. Tibbitts
EG&G Star City, Inc.
Miamisburg, OH 45343

Current Address
Barry T. Neyer
Excelitas Technologies
1100 Vanguard Blvd
Miamisburg, OH 45342
(937) 865-5586
(937) 865-5170 (Fax)


Weapon systems utilize Safe and Arm Devices (S&As, or SADs) to ensure that certain safety and performance requirements are met before the main charge of the weapon can be detonated. Historically systems have been composed of detonators made from sensitive primary explosives coupled by an explosive train to the main explosive charge. These systems use mechanical, out-of-line systems to physically interrupt the explosive train and prevent inadvertent functioning. Arming is accomplished by rotating the detonators so that they are in-line with the explosive train.

The mechanical S&As are becoming difficult to produce and the manufacturing base is shrinking. Moreover, each weapon system has a unique design. Advancement in electronic component manufacturing and explosive initiation technologies have provided attractive alternatives to mechanical S&A systems. These Electronic SADs (ESADs) use insensitive explosives and employ electronic logic for performing the safe and arm function.

EG&G has entered into a CRADA with NSWC Dahlgren and NSWC Indian Head to design and develop an ESAD that could be used in a number of weapon systems. The system utilizes an Exploding Foil Initiator (EFI) to directly detonate an insensitive explosive. The EFI requires a firing pulse with a narrow temporal profile that is not easily produced accidentally. The ESAD also uses micromachined accelerometers and electronic timing circuits to ensure that the weapon system has traveled a safe distance from the launch system before the firing circuitry is energized.

EG&G has also entered into a CRADA with NSWC Dahlgren to develop a next generation detonator, a "Chip Slapper." The Chip Slapper is manufactured using modern electronic manufacturing techniques; these techniques allow us to produce detonators that are extremely consistent from one lot to the next. The EG&G Chip Slapper detonator will be hermetically sealed and qualified over a wide range of environments. Thus, this component could be used in a large number of systems.

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Technical Papers of Dr. Barry T. Neyer