When it comes to operating an aircraft, it’s vital that you have the equipment necessary to act quickly and efficiently in the event of an unexpected disaster, such as a fire. With cartridge-actuated devices, or squibs, you can ensure your military or commercial aircraft is protected against sudden combustion, no matter the situation.

At AETC, we have a wide inventory of propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics designed for aerospace applications. When you purchase aircraft pyrotechnics with us, you’ll experience high-quality materials, fast lead times, and excellent customer service.

Fire Extinguisher Cartridges

Cartridge-actuated devices (CAD), also referred to as squibs or explosive squibs, are utilized as a common method of actuating aircraft fire extinguishing systems. Squibs are miniature explosive devices found in the discharge valve of fire extinguishing agent containers. These electrically activated tools act as a charge for an aircraft’s storage bottles, releasing the fire suppressant when needed.

The typical fire extinguishing systems consist of a container bottle with an extinguishing agent and pressurized gas. The bottle is hermetically sealed, and the squib is used to rupture the diaphragm disc, expelling the fire extinguishing agent from the bottle to subdue the blaze. The squib is installed on an outlet, and when electrically actuated from the cockpit, it breaks the diaphragm, allowing the extinguishing agent to the fire zones.


We also carry pyrotechnic initiators, which produce heat and pressure to kindle hard-to-ignite materials like propellants, safety fuses, and thermal battery systems. Initiators are operated electronically using heated devices called bridgewires. Bridgewires are similar to detonators but do not produce shock waves — instead, they generate exothermic chemical reactions to set off pyrotechnic compositions.

These dual or single bridgewire units are small, lightweight and designed to maximize efficiency, output and reliability. With over 200,000 units manufactured and flown worldwide, these units can provide a simple way of achieving critical design criteria.

The initiators can be electrically actuated with as little as 3.5 amps (though lower actuation amperage is achievable) with a peak pressure of 1200 PSIG within milliseconds from actuation.


Detonators are tools used to set off explosive devices. These are typically high-energy devices, triggered similarly to an initiator. Detonators were developed to promote safer, more stable explosions for commercial explosives.

These units are hermetically sealed and can withstand extreme conditions. Detonators have several loads and load profiles that detonate a larger, more powerful explosive to generate high activation energy.


Cutters, piston pullers and piston pushers are part of the explosive chain reactions that occur within an initiator during aircraft emergencies. These devices use the pressure from an explosion to release safety features such as evacuation slides and rafts that allow passengers and crew to safely flee the aircraft.

Cutters are built with circular blades on the ends of the device that, when moved by a build-up of pressure, cut into a disc or valve and activate safety features. Piston pullers and pushers are similar to cutters, but these devices are connected to pins rather than blades. The pressure from the initiator will either push or pull the piston to break the pin and trigger the safety feature release.

Other Products Manufactured at AETC

Though squibs, initiators, detonators and cutters are our most popular aerospace products, we also offer additional aircraft pyrotechnic and explosive devices to suit every need. Some of the many products we manufacture in addition to our propellants and electric squibs include:

If you require a specific product for your aircraft that is not listed above, our experienced team will do their best to accommodate you. To purchase devices individualized to your needs, reach out to our staff, and we’ll discuss how we can serve you.

Purchase Cartridge-Actuated Devices at AETC Today

For high-quality aircraft engine squibs you can rely on, choose AETC. We’ve spent over 40 years helping our customers secure the most dependable pyrotechnic devices at the most competitive prices while delivering unbeatable customer service.

Contact us for more information on our products today!