Military “CADS” - Cartridge Actuated Devices (w/ photos)

Found this NAVAIR publication with a very large number of cartridges and cartridge actuated devices that I’m sure are familiar to many on this forum, but new to me. The thread on the engine ignition cartridges started a fire… A friend who is a aircraft restorer and warbird flyer had this gov’t publication buried in a pile of stuff. he thinks he has a Coffman engine starter manual and possibly the device itself buried in the “T” hanger along with related items.
Things like, Helicopter lift cable severing cartridge devices …etc. … Had no idea an ejection seat had so many cartridge devices used to eject the seat , deploy the various chutes and open canopies and much more. delays and timed to all keep the various parts functioning at the right time. cartridges to eject the bomb racks on F-4’s, F-8’s, A-4’s… and other similar aircraft. Fascinating stuff.
This publication is dated March 1968. Couple of hundred pages with several dozen cartridge activated gizmo’s with great detail of their function, cut away drawings and the various aircraft that used them. Headstamps and case markings of the cartridges in detail. Model #'s, dates of use, and expired versions. If anyone is interested I can send the publication index and can then copy the pertinent pages.

I collect “CADS” (which is a bit of a misnomer to me)…“Cartridge Activated Devices” …whereas the rounds we often encounter are those that “activate” the “cartridge activated device” (is my puzzlement evident?)

I have a small drawer full that could set the thread going…but as any Forum writer knows…taking photos, uploading them (in quantity), adding them to a thread…is not a quick process…

I have some “cool” examples to share (and always interested in acquiring others!!) and we can debate (or someone can set me straight) as there is a fine line between “tool” rounds and CADS. …examples…cable cutters…engine starters…ejection seat rounds; not to be confused with CADS that drop/activate/release “stores” from jets, blow canopies, activate fire extinguishers, open escape hatches and fire the rounds that dispense chaff/flares/decoys…etc.,etc…

(again, the round that fires the round that dispenses the chaff is called the “CAD”…it seems to me the “CAD” is the round that dispenses the chaff whereas the round that fires those rounds is the “CAD”)(more like a “primer”)(maybe I am easily confused?)

(in the photo above…the “big fella” (Flare Decoy)…is not the “CAD” (but is cartridge activated) activated by the little 2 prong electrical gizmo to its right (the “CAD”)…whcih to me…is more like the aforementioned “primer”

They are “cool” (I’m a 70’s child) and often remain unidentified until you can research manuals like this one

Sorry for typos…doing this on my I-pad


There is a digital copy of the 1972 edition available at

Pepper knows a lot about oddball stuff like this.

your link to the CAD NAVAIR manual is virtually identical to the publication I have with a few upgrades in models and types. I think this is Not necessarily ‘oddball’, but different ‘high gee whiz factor’ stuff. I suspect collecting this sort of thing is very limited in availability. Pepper thanks for your response. I suspected this was one of your collecting focuses and would love to see some pics.

Are “primers” considered “cads” because in some cases they are just a tiny cartridge that activates / actuates a larger, bullet device? Just curious :-)


These are some really neat cartridges / devices. Many of which are in this publication. Very cool. Thanks for posting the pictures!!