Engine Starter Cartridges

These may be of interest. I believe they were used as engine starters in Canberra or Vulcan bombers. However i believe they were also used as engine starters in Submarines. I was gifted them by a Naval friend, so i think Submarine is correct.



Hi Sinksub,

Here is a link to an earlier indepth discussion here on the Forum concerning these starter cartridges.

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Fab, thank you

These are so awesome! I did not know that some Submarines needed a starter cartridge. Super interesting. Great artifacts!


Makes me curious about use on a submarine. How many did they carry? Could have been a limiting factor on a war patrol.

Diesel engines on subs were normally started using compressed air.
The starting cartridges were a backup, if the compressed air was depleted.


Thank you guys. There is so much knowledge here. Really appreciated.

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Does anyone have documentation indicating the No. 10 Mk. 3 cartridge was using as a submarine engine starter?

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Not related, but… Pepper showed a photo of an extremely large starter cartridge, on this forum titled: British engine starter cartridges?

The MXU-4A/A was made to start jet engines on several American aircraft.

In the early 80s we used to get a lot of them turned over to us for disposal due to expiration dates. No idea what they were being used on, but they were a pain in the ass to dispose of. Too much metal and no significant energetics to contribute to their own destruction. Always wished I’d saved a couple -


Among other aircraft, the MXU-4A/A was used on the B52Gs at both 19th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) at Warner Robins AFB, GA in the '70s and the 42nd BMW(H), Loring AFB, ME in the ,80s. Depending on where the Russian subs were, launch requirements could demand a “Cart Start” to get the Buffs airborne in the shortest amount of time. The starter carts, in addition to shelf life (expiration dates mentioned) they also have a service life–after so many insertions, i.e. loaded but not fired, they were turned in for destruction.