Impulse Cartridges

When using aircraft for the military, particularly aircraft involved with stores release, operators must be able to quickly release stores like bombs and missiles. This immediacy comes down to a crucial part of the racking system — the impulse cartridge.

Having the right impulse cartridge for your aircraft is of the utmost importance to ensure a fast, reliable release. AETC is a leading developer of cartridge-actuated devices for military aircraft use, including impulse cartridges for stores release.

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.

Types of Impulse Cartridges

There are two types of impulse cartridges, categorized based on how they initiate — electronic and percussion. Each kind comes in numerous variations to serve different purposes. While many are used for stores release, you can find impulse cartridges for a multitude of applications, such as pilot and crew member aircraft ejection.

Explore some of each kind’s general differences:

  • Electronic: These impulse cartridges use electricity to ignite release. A common example is the M012 MK19 MOD 0 impulse cartridge, which is a screw-shaped cartridge that uses gas pressure upon electric initiation via the ignitor assembly to release stores. Other models for stores release include ARD-863 and CCU-44/B.
  • Percussion: Rather than rely on an electric ignitor assembly, some impulse cartridges use percussion primers or caps for initiation. These cartridges are most often outfitted with explosive materials like gunpowder and percussion caps. When the operator initiates release, most often by pulling a trigger, the system pushes against the cap, ignites the explosive material, and creates a spark that moves through the cartridge to create the release. These impulse cartridges are generally used for small arms ammunition.

For military aircraft stores release, electronic impulse cartridges are the most common option.

Choose Impulse Cartridges From AETC Today

When you are looking for the right impulse cartridges for your stores release applications, AETC is here to help. For years, we have produced high-quality, effective impulse cartridges to suit your military aircraft needs. Best of all, we provide all of our customers with individually tailored services to deliver them the most suitable solutions.

Contact us via our online form or at 979-347-2324 to discuss your impulse cartridge needs.