What Is an Impulse Cartridge?
An impulse cartridge is a small, cylindrical piece of metal that uses a high amount of pressure to release a specific item. In applications related to military aircraft, impulse cartridges are used for stores release, most commonly for missile or bomb rack release. Of the two kinds of cartridges — those providing immediate release and those providing delayed release — impulse cartridges make up the former.
These devices provide an instantaneous release that is essential for dropping stores and in emergencies. As impulse cartridges, they go off in less than 50 milliseconds. Upon command, an impulse cartridge receives an initiation signal that then releases the attached item.
How Do Impulse Cartridges Work?
An individual impulse cartridge is made up of various components, including a main charge, a booster and an electric primer. Once the operator initiates the cartridge, gas pressure pushes a piston that ejects the store from its rack. The kinds of impulse cartridges used to dispense stores during flight may feature slightly different parts, but all impulse cartridges use pressure to initiate release.