What Makes A Missile Explode At The Right Time?

Warfare has come a very long way since the days of bows and arrows, and now missiles have their own guidance systems and built-in computers to ensure that they hit their target precisely. A Tomahawk missile, for example, costs around $1.5m and includes an incredible amount of technology.

How do these weapons detonate though? It would be easy for them to just explode on impact but not all explosives can do that. Instead, various pieces of technology are designed to make sure that an explosion happens only when it should and the mission is a success.

Proximity Sensor

Most modern warheads will explode above a target. The reason for this is that it will cause the most damage as the shockwave will be able to be spread over a greater area than it would be over the ground. The most infamous examples are the bombs that were detonated around 1,800 feet in the air over Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War.

This is the best way to inflict maximum damage over a wide area and proximity sensors are used to do this. They will be able to detect when a warhead is a certain distance away from a target and detonate. This is highly effective and can cause huge damage.

Contact Switch

Sometimes you don’t want to inflict a huge amount of damage but instead, your goal is to target a specific object for destruction, such as a ship or a tank that may have advanced protection from a missile attack. This level of control can be especially important in civilian populations where you must minimize collateral damage.

This is where a contact switch comes in. Example of such components can be sourced from an impact switch manufacturer like Select Controls Company. Contact or crush switches will ensure that the missile detonates on impact and are able to punch through any thick materials. These mechanisms are extremely useful for taking out a specific target.

Explosive Reaction

There are some bombs though that are still able to be set off by their impact alone. These are generally more rudimentary bombs that are going to achieve such aims as being fired at a bunker in order to inflict damage.

These types of missiles generally aren’t quite as advanced and will often be used in a general area where a suspected enemy might be present. They can be effective, but they won’t have quite the same effect as a missile with a proximity sensor or a contact switch.

The Future

No one can say for sure what the future will hold in terms of modern warfare. If you went back to medieval times and told them that there would be an explosive that could fly, be remotely guided, and be detonated through their own built-in computers, it might be considered beyond the imagination.

It makes one wonder what we will be using in another century or so. For now, contact switches and similar components are highly effective at making sure a mission is accomplished.