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In military munitions, a fuze (sometimes fuse) is the part of the device that initiates function. In some applications, such as torpedoes, a fuze may be identified by function as the exploder.[1] The relative complexity of even the earliest fuze designs can be seen in cutaway diagrams.

Description

A fuze is a device that detonates a munition's explosive material under specified conditions. In addition, a fuze will have safety and arming mechanisms that protect users from premature or accidental detonation.[2][3] For example, an artillery fuze's battery is activated by the high acceleration of cannon launch, and the fuze must be spinning rapidly before it will function. "Complete bore safety" can be achieved with mechanical shutters that isolate the detonator from the main charge until the shell is fired.[4]

A fuze may contain only the electronic or mechanical elements necessary to signal or actuate the detonator, but some fuzes contain a small amount of primary explosive to initiate the detonation. Fuzes for large explosive charges may include an explosive booster.

Etymology

Professional publications about explosives and munitions distinguish the "fuse" and "fuze" spelling.[5][6] The UK Ministry of Defence states (emphasis in original):

FUSE: Cord or tube for the transmission of flame or explosion usually consisting of cord or rope with gunpowder or high explosive spun into it. (The spelling FUZE may also be met for this term, but FUSE is the preferred spelling in this context.)[7]
FUZE: A device with explosive components designed to initiate a main charge. (The spelling FUSE may also be met for this term, but FUZE is the preferred spelling in this context.)[8]

Oliver Hogg states the following about fuze:

The word "fuze" is often spelt "fuse" by those unacquainted with artillery usage. This is incorrect. "Fuse", derived from fusus, the past participle of fundo, means "to melt", e.g., the term "fuse-wire" used in electrical circuits. "Fuze", on the other hand, is the shortened or modern method of spelling "fuzee", meaning a tube filled with combustible material. It is a derivation of fusus, a spindle and from the French fusee, a spindle full of thread. It is well to make this point at the outset.[9]

Historically, it was spelled with either 's' or 'z', and both spellings can still be found.[10] In the United States and some military forces,[11] fuze[12] is used[13][14][15][16] to denote a sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components (for example a proximity fuze for an artillery shell, magnetic/acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze,[17][18][19] pencil detonator or anti-handling device)[20] as opposed to a simple burning fuse.[21]

Fuze categorization by munition type

The situation of usage and the characteristics of the munition it is intended to activate affect the fuze design e.g. its safety and actuation mechanisms.

Artillery fuze

Artillery fuzes are tailored to function in the special circumstances of artillery projectiles. The relevant factors are the projectile's initial rapid acceleration, high velocity and usually rapid rotation, which affect both safety and arming requirements and options, and the target may be moving or stationary.

Artillery fuzes may be initiated by a timer mechanism, impact or detection of proximity to the target, or a combination of these.

Hand grenade fuze

Require

A fuze is a device that detonates a munition's explosive material under specified conditions. In addition, a fuze will have safety and arming mechanisms that protect users from premature or accidental detonation.[2][3] For example, an artillery fuze's battery is activated by the high acceleration of cannon launch, and the fuze must be spinning rapidly before it will function. "Complete bore safety" can be achieved with mechanical shutters that isolate the detonator from the main charge until the shell is fired.[4]

A fuze may contain only the electronic or mechanical elements necessary to signal or actuate the detonator, but some fuzes contain a small amount of primary explosive to initiate the detonation. Fuzes for large explosive charges may include an explosive booster.

Etymology

Professional publications about explosives and munitions distinguish the "fuse" and "fuze" spelling.[5][6] The UK Ministry of Defence states (emphasis in original):

FUSE: Cord or tube for the transmission of flame or explosion usually consisting of cord or rope with gunpowder or high explosive spun into it. (The spelling FUZE may also be met for this term, but FUSE is the preferred spelling in this context.)[7]
FUZE: A device with explosive components designed to initiate a main charge. (The spelling FUSE may also be met for this term, but FUZE is the preferred spelling in this context.)[8]

Oliver Hogg states the following about fuze:

The word "fuze" is often spelt "fuse" by those unacquainted with artillery usage. This is incorrect. "Fuse", derived from fusus, the past participle of fundo, means "to melt", e.g., the term "fuse-wire" used in electrical circuits. "Fuze", on the other hand, is the shortened or modern method of spelling "fuzee", meaning a tube filled with combustible material. It is a derivation of fusus, a spindle and from the French fusee, a spindle full of thread. It is well to make this point at the outset.[9]

Historically, it was spelled with either 's' or 'z', and both spellings can still be found.[10] In the United States and some military forces,[11] fuze[12] is used[13][14][15][16] to denote a sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components (for example a proximity fuze for an artillery shell, magnetic/acoustic fuze on a sea mineA fuze may contain only the electronic or mechanical elements necessary to signal or actuate the detonator, but some fuzes contain a small amount of primary explosive to initiate the detonation. Fuzes for large explosive charges may include an explosive booster.

Professional publications about explosives and munitions distinguish the "fuse" and "fuze" spelling.[5][6] The UK Ministry of Defence states (emphasis in original):

FUSE: Cord or tube for the transmission of flame or explosion usually consisting of cord or rope with gunpowder or high explosive spun into it. (The spelling FUZE may also be met for this term, but FUSE is the preferred spelling in this context.)fusus, the past participle of fundo, means "to melt", e.g., the term "fuse-wire" used in electrical circuits. "Fuze", on the other hand, is the shortened or modern method of spelling "fuzee", meaning a tube filled with combustible material. It is a derivation of fusus, a spindle and from the French fusee, a spindle full of thread. It is well to make this point at the outset.[9]

Hi

Historically, it was spelled with either 's' or 'z', and both spellings can still be found.[10] In the United States and some military forces,[11] fuze[12] is used[13][14][15][16] to denote a sophisticated ignition device incorporating mechanical and/or electronic components (for example a proximity fuze for an artillery shell, magnetic/acoustic fuze on a sea mine, spring-loaded grenade fuze,[17][18][19] pencil detonator or anti-handling device)[20] as opposed to a simple burning fuse.[21]

Fuze categorization by munition type

The situation of usage and the characteristics of the munition it is intended to activate affect the fuze design e.g. its safety and actuation mechanisms.

Artillery fuzeArtillery fuze