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This module of the EOD Operators Course is taught to our EOD Technicians. It is rare to come across such an advanced piece of weaponry in Cambodia.
but is taught regardless of rarity and was included in these pages to show the level of training our EOD Technicians receive. Training is expensive but is
necessary to empower our operators to tackle all tasks related to Explosive Ordnance Disposal requirements regardless. It has been included in these
pages as an example of the complexities of the task of adherence to regulations in the task of demining in Cambodia.



PROTECTIVE WORKS   -     Reducing blast and fragmentation  -  DESTRUCTING BY BURNING  -      Low Order Techniques  -  IED - BOOBY TRAPS and AWARENESS   -   ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT INVESTIGATION   -    GUIDED WEAPONS (see below)


GUIDED WEAPONS MODULE                            Researched and edited by Gary Breen ex RAE


Guided Weapons (GW) are different from other weapons due to their ability to alter or control their aiming point during flight. GW can strike targets accurately from long distance. GW are one of the most dangerous items that an EOD Operator is likely to face.


Surface to Surface Missiles (SSM). Fired from a surface platform, to strike a surface target.

Surface to Air Missile (SAM). Fired from a surface platform, to destroy a target aircraft.

Air to Air Missile (AAM). Fired from an aircraft, to destroy a target aircraft.

Air to Surface Missile (ASM). Fired from an aircraft, to destroy a land based target.



The Guidance Section tells the control section where to steer the weapon to the target. There are three types: homing, command and pre-set.

Homing. Works by using a sensor at the front of the weapon. This sensor detects the targetís location.

Radar. Uses the reflection of radar waves off the target to track a targetís movement and location. Often used for larger missiles that fire long distances. The nose of a radar homing missile will be made of non metallic material like fibre-glass or plastic.

Infrared. Follows a heat signature emitted by the target aircraft or vehicle. Infrared homing is mostly used for short range SAM and AAM. The nose of an infrared homing section is usually cloudy glass or plastic. Behind this will be a moveable mirror.

Laser. A laser is fired from an aircraft or ground troops, onto a target. A laser guided missile will see and move to where the laser beam has landed.

Command. Requires instructions from the firer throughout its entire flight to the target. This is usually achieved by sensors at the rear of the weapon.

Wire. Uses thin electrical wire that connects the firing platform with the weapon. The firer makes guidance adjustments throughout the flight, these adjustments are transmitted through the wire until the missile has reached the target. Because of the limited amount of wire available, this type of guidance design is only suitable for short range SSM up to 5km.

Radio. Corrections in flight are made by the firer. These corrections are passed through to the weapon mid flight. Small antennae at the rear of the weapon receive radio waves.

Beam Riding. A laser is fired at the target by firer. The missile will continuously move to stay inside the beam during flight

Electro Optical. A TV camera is fitted to the front of the weapon, behind a clear window. The firer makes adjustments to the missileís path by viewing what that missile is seeing at all stages of the flight. Adjustments are sent via a radio signal, similar to radio command.

Pre Set. This guidance system involves the programming of a guided weapon before launch and is only useful against fixed surface targets. This most commonly found with large SSM and some ASM. GPS is the most common pre set system.


Control Section has two functions:

1. Steers the weapon, as directed by the guidance section. This can be done using moveable surfaces or altering the exhaust angle.

2. Controls systems to other parts of the weapon. Such systems can include power, cooling, pneumatic and hydraulic. AAM and SAM will have larger system requirements due to rapid changes in flight to the target. EOD Operators must allow for all electrical systems to run down power.



Warhead Section can be considered as having three parts:

1. Fuse

2. Warhead

3. Safe / Arm Device (SAD)

Fuse. Can include multiple options at the same time, but will nearly always be electrically driven. GW fuses can be:

Contact. Will usually be used for weapons that attack surface targets. There will usually be several switches and all will be very sensitive. Contact fusing my include a delay action to allow target penetration.

Proximity. Nearly all SAM and AAM will use proximity fusing. This is because direct contact is very difficult against aircraft. Both sideways and front proximity fusing is likely. Proximity fusing is one of the reasons why EOD Operators must approach from offset rear angles, as shown in the approach sector diagram.

Self Destruct. Weapons used over friendly territory will usually have self destruct fusing. The triggers may be loss of propulsion, loss of signal, loss of target acquisition, time or power run down. This is another reason why EOD Operators must allow for a full power run down of the weapon before approaching.

Warhead. Can be conventional blast/frag or shaped charge. Warheads in AAM and SAM could have Multiple Shaped Charge Warhead or Continuous Rod Warhead

Multiple Shape Charge Warhead Continuous Rod Warhead (CROW

Safe / Arm Device. The SAD may be the only part of the weapon that has primary HE. The SAD performs the following functions:

1. Provides safety breaks before the weapon is launched

2. Arms the weapon after it has been launched

3. Links fusing systems with the warhead


Propulsion Types. Can be air breathing, or a rocket motor. Air breathing engines are for longer distance flights and will have some form of air intake. Rocket Motors are much more common and rely on the rapid burning of fuel for propulsion.

Boosters. Many GWs have a booster charge which assists in the first acceleration of the weapon. They can be built in or external. External boosters will often fall away after they are spent. 

Hazards. All types of propulsion types will consist of highly flammable material, or Low Explosive. Liquid fuels are common also, and are likely to be highly toxic or corrosive. EOD Operators are to avoid contact with propulsion materials. If handling is required, PPE in the form of chemical gloves, chemical apron and industrial breathing mask is recommended.


Stockpiled Guided Weapon. Within itís packaging, likely found within the armoury.

Unfired Guided Weapon. Mounted with itís firing platform, may be armed, but not fired.

Misfired Guided Weapon. Has been initiated to fire but has failed to functioned and remains with its firing platform or launcher. Misfired UXOs are to be treated as fired.

Fired Guided Weapon. Has been successfully launched from its platform, but has not successfully detonated.

Crashed Guided Weapon. A platform has crashed and sustained major damage, with a weapon attached. Due to the unknown state of internal workings, crashed Guided Weapons are to be firstly treated as fired.

Jettisoned Guided Weapon. The pilot of an aircraft has decided to release all weapons in flight, in order to make the aircraft lighter, or safer to land. Due to the unknown state of internal workings, jettisoned UXO are to be firstly treated as fired.


The below section is for theoretical learning of guided weapon hazards only. EOD Operators are to conform to their organisationís SOPs for technical guidance. It is highly recommended that EOD Operators exhaust all possible methods of confirming the exact weapon type before conducting a close recon.

Live Fusing. Guided Weapons often have proximity fusing that can function during an operatorís approach. Radar can bounce off an approaching EOD Operator and cause the fuse to function. Also, the heat generated by a human body, may be enough to function heat seeking sensors. These fuses will often be electrically driven, and therefore will no longer function if batteries are dead. Detailed research of the weapon, or organizational SOPs will dictate how many days it will take for the batteries to exhaust. Once this waiting period has expired, the most suitable approach sector for that weapon should be used.

 Pressurised Gases and Liquids. Many missiles contain pressurized gases and liquids. They may be held within hoses or bottles. Do not attempt to manually dissemble parts, even if the weapon is unfired.

Toxic and Corrosive Substances. Are commonly found in guided weapons as fuels, coolants, hydraulic fluid or battery acid. Consider wearing appropriated PPE such as gloves, apron or breathing apparatus if handling is required.

Electricity. Can be generated by batteries or onboard electrical generators. EOD Operators are to assume that armed and fired guided weapons hold a live electrical charge that can shock them. In the opposite sense, EOD Operators are to ensure they carry out proper grounding procedures if working on an unfired guided weapon. Grounding will minimise the chance of unintentionally functioning electrically sensitive parts.

Low Explosive. Is commonly used as a propulsion system. It is possible that not all LE has been burnt during the weapon launch. EOD Operators are to take the estimated weight of all unburnt LE into consideration when calculating safety distances. EOD Operators are to be aware of LE outlets when approaching guided weapons.

Blast/Frag. HE is most likely to be in the warhead only. Consider using protective works if conducting demolition in a built up area. Use of protective works may assist the containment of CROW. This is especially helpful if conducting demolition in an area with nearby powerlines.

Shaped Charge. Most anti-tank weapons have a shaped charged warhead. EOD Operators are to take collapse cones as per other weapons. Designing safety cordons or protective works will also help to minimise this threat.

Electro-Magnetic Radiation. Guided Weapons that use radar guidance systems will emit large amounts of radiation. Radiation can also come from sideways looking proximity fusing on the warhead section. This hazard is another reason why it is important for waiting periods to expire.


Safety. GW present several hazards. EOD Operators are to exhaust all available resources to positively identify GWs and their associated risks.

Vapour. In the case of a crashed, fired or jettisoned GW. EOD Operators are to take wind speed and direction into consideration. Areas that are nearby a crash site and that are within the path of fumes should be evacuated. 

Possible Condition. When in doubt about the condition of the weapon, assume the worst possible case scenario.

Wait Times. In the absence of any defined wait times for a guided weapon, a default of 14 days is to be applied.

Establish Safety Cordon. A safety cordon is to be established for the entire wait period. EOD Operators are only to collapse the cordon after a successful detonation is confirmed. GWs provide an attractive item to locals due to the high quality of metal.

Likely Distribution. A crashed GW will break into many sections and parts. The distribution will be in a straight line from the point of impact to the furthermost part. The warhead section will travel the longest distance due to its weight. Using a compass with a known crash bearing will assist in finding all parts.

Approach Sectors. Orientation of the weapon must be confirmed by long range reconnaissance.


Recon. Positive ID will be reliant on collection of all available information such as: guidance system, fusing, propulsion, control surfaces, dimensions, markings and colour.

Demolition. Demolition is to be full length of the weapon, section or parts. If protective works are not required. Sand bag walls either side to the weapon are to be constructed for the purpose of catching all fragmentation. This will assist in the confirmation that all hazardous parts are destroyed.

Conclusion. Guided Weapons have a broad range of capabilities and present many hazards to an EOD Operator. Great care and attention is to be applied during all phases of demolition, especially a positive identification. Approach should only be attempted after all power sources have expired. Weapon data will be required for this to be confirmed.



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