Expanding Tube Assembly (XTA)

Product Description

Expanding Tube Assemblies (XTA), also known as Expanding Shielded Mild Detonating Cord (XSMDC), are used to provide explosively driven, contamination-free reliable separation. The expanding tube assembly is a formed stainless steel tube containing a linear Mild Detonating Cord (MDC). The tube is formed into an oval shape and sealed on both ends by welded end fittings which include loaded booster shells. These shells provide means for redundant initiation of the assembly. After initiation, the MDC propagates and the energy expands the tube creating the necessary mechanical impulse to achieve separation of the targeted assembly. Targets for separation include aluminum ligaments, acrylic panels, frangible hooks, or other frangible structures as desired by customer specification.

Key Features

  • MDC used to ‘Expand’ Metal Tube from oval to round
    • Requires detonation input to initiate
  • All by-products of combustion contained
  • Close tolerance fit between XTA & vehicle structure


Used for

  1. Stage separation & cover removal for missiles & munitions; shears metal joint along a predetermine shear plane
  2. Emergency aircrew egress; F-14 & F-16 canopy jettison; unlocks canopy by ‘breaking’ open the hook locking boxes
  3. Underwater Emergency Egress System; significantly reduces harmful acoustic levels to the aircrew

Along with:

  • Used on Rotor Systems Research Aircraft (RSRA) X-wing
  • Used on Delta III stage separation
  • Used on Delta IV stage separation
  • Qualified for use on Apache AH-64 canopy fracturing system (CFS).
  • Integrating for use on Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) CST-100.

Functions of An Expanding Tube Assembly

The expanding tube assembly is used in applications requiring precise separation and containment of combustion products. It is used for low weight applications due to reduced need for reinforcements to support device compared to alternative systems. The attenuating properties of the XTA reduce vehicle and crew exposure not only to combustion products but harmful overpressure in extreme environments while still maintaining the benefits of using an explosive separation system. XTA can be used in applications from the upper atmosphere to underwater conditions.


  • Operating Temperature
    -70°F to +180°F
  • Output
    Severance of .075” Aluminum
    Severance of .150” Stretched Acrylic
  • Initiation
    Electrical Detonator with typical 1 grain Booster Shell
    Energy Transfer Line – SMDC, FCDC
  • Shock
Frequency (Hz)  Spectrum Level (Q=10)
100 30
100-3000 +5.3dB/Octave
3000+ 2125G
  • TSH & A
    28 days per MIL-D-21625
  • Salt Fog
  • Sand & Dust
    Mil STD 810-G
  • Icing
    Mil STD 810-G
  • Applicable Specifications
    Qualified for


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