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A Review of the History of Fire Suppression of U.S. DOD Aircraft



Donald Bein


A review of the history of fire suppression on U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft is presented to provide a context against which the findings of the Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP) can be assessed. These findings are to be published later this year (2006) in the NGP final report. Aircraft fire suppression applications reviewed are powerplant compartments, which include engine nacelles and auxiliary power unit (APU) compartments, dry bay compartments, and fuel tank ullage (wet bays). The evolution of engine nacelle fire suppression system designs are presented, from “conventional” systems design to current high-rate discharge systems. Nacelle/APU fire occurrence and suppression system discharge is presented relative to altitude and temperature. Pilot response and system effectiveness are also discussed. The evolution of active dry bay fire suppression is also presented, though active systems dedicated purely to dry bay fire protection have not been fielded until the advent of the Live Fire Test legislation. Technologies and methods implemented previously and currently for fuel tank ullage fire suppression are then discussed.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 984-4
Report Number


Bein, D. (2006), A Review of the History of Fire Suppression of U.S. DOD Aircraft, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 27, 2024)


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Created January 1, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017