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Airborne Armament Equipment (AAE)

Aircraft bombs, torpedoes, mines, and other stores are suspended internally or externally from the aircraft by bomb racks, which carry, arm and release stores. Airborne Armament Equipment (AAE) is made up of items that support the expending or release of ordnance from aircraft such as Bomb Racks and Launchers. It is important to note that AAE does not actually include the ordnance itself.

Bomb racks are aircraft armament equipment items which provide for the suspension, carriage, and release of ordnance items from the aircraft.

Most bomb racks are installed semipermanently on an aircraft and are referred to as parent racks. Bomb racks are generally classified as ejection or free-fall. A free-fall bomb rack allows the ordnance item to fall from the rack when all the requirements of the launch sequence have been satisfied, while release from an ejector type bomb rack is accomplished by the firing of a cartridge actuated device which then ejects the item or items.

Ejector racks serve the same purpose as bomb racks but differ in that they use electrically fired impulse cartridges to eject the weapon/stores free of the bomb rack. High speed fighter and attack aircraft can create a vacuum under the fuselage and wings. This vacuum can prevent the weapon/store from entering the airstream and falling to the target. If this happens, the weapon/store may physically contact the aircraft structure, causing serious damage to or loss of the aircraft. Bomb ejector racks eject the weapon/store free of the bomb racks with sufficient force to overcome vacuum buildup and ensure a safe weapon/store launching environment.

Guided missile launchers provide for the carriage and release of guided missiles from an aircraft. They provide the mechanical and electrical interface between the aircraft and the air launched missile. Guided missile launchers are categorized as either ejection type or rail launchers. Ejection type launchers utilize gas pressure generated by cartridges fired in the launcher breeches to physically separate the missile fromthe aircraft. The missile motor is then ignited at a predetermined distance below the aircraft. Rail launchers are normally carried on the wing stations. Rail launchers enable the missile motor to be activated while the missile is still attached to the launcher. After motor fire, the thrust generated by the motor overcomes the missile restraining device and the missile separates from the the aircraft. The tube launcher is a variant of the rail launcher. Tube type launchers contain the missile in launcher tubes until the missile motor is ignited. The missile then fires from the tube in a manner similar to firing aircraft-mounted rockets.

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