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.


The XTA 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.


Used on Rotor Systems Research Aircraft (RSRA) X-wing

Used on F-16 canopy emergency jettison system

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.


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

TSH & A: 28 days per MIL-D-21625

Salt Fog: Mil-D-21625

Sand & Dust: Mil STD 810-G

Icing: Mil STD 810-G

Applicable Specifications: Qualified for DODE-83578A

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Last updated: 2020-06-09

Expanding Tube Assembly



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