device which initiates the explosion of a munition

In military munitions, a fuze is the part of an explosive device that makes it explode. In some devices (notably torpedoes) a fuze may be identified by function as the "exploder".[1] The term fuze is used to indicate an advanced ignition device with mechanical and/or electronic parts.[2]

A 155mm artillery fuze, with two modes: impact and proximity detonation

Time fuzes detonate after a set period of time. Impact, percussion or contact fuzes detonate when they hit something, usually the target. A proximity fuze uses sensors which can be one or more combinations of the following: radar, active sonar, passive acoustic, infrared, magnetic, photoelectric, seismic or even television cameras. Whatever the sensor used, percussion fuzes cause the explosion to occur close to the target. The target will either be destroyed or severely damaged.

Most English-language countries use the "z" spelling to distinguish between simple burning fuses and pyrotechnical or explosive devices.[3]


  1. Arthur P. Fairfield, Naval Ordnance (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1921), p. 24
  2. The New Weapons of the World Encyclopedia: An International Encyclopedia from 5000 B.C. to the 21st Century (New York: St Martin's Griffin, 2007), p. 236
  3. Rudolf Meyer; Josef Köhler; Axel Homburg, Explosives (Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2002), p. 148