Survivability of armored vehicles is an important requirement of armed forces worldwide. The ability to sustain a hit that causes minimum vehicle damage while the crew remains operative is a must in the modern battlefield.
Modern warfare tactics include the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), Molotov cocktails and other ways to ignite fuel fires, Incendiary hand grenade charges and Concealed explosive/incendiary packages. New generations of significantly improved RPG's and Anti-tank missiles with enhanced penetration capability and extended firing range are operated by infantry or small groups of soldiers from concealed shelters or remotely by radio communications. Sophisticated explosives and sticky incendiary materials coupled with conventional propellant and explosives mixtures, create more hazardous and lethal weapons that not only penetrate the armored vehicle causing havoc and secondary fires in the crew or engine compartments, but also stick to its surface igniting the vehicle's external equipment and wheel bays and preventing the rescue of the trapped soldiers from the vehicle.
The inclusion of a fire and explosion detection and suppression system, which by definition eliminates the secondary effects of fuel mist explosion, is an important feature that influences the survivability of the vehicles and their crews.
Detecting the occurrence of the fireball at its incipient stage, when its size and energy emitted by it are small enough to be controlled by suppression is a critical factor in automatic fire protection systems. Various fuels and different fire scenarios determine the detector selection, either fast response Optical Flame Detectors or in areas where direct line of sight is difficult the use of Spot or Linear Heat Detectors.
Several fire scenarios can happen when an IED or HEAT round penetrate an armored vehicle. Flammable vapors from ruptured hydraulic fluid pipes or fuel spray or spill from fuel tank leakage can be ignited by the high-energy source penetrating the vehicle and a fireball may be created. Ammunition and other energetic materials carried by the vehicle may catch fire and further explode.