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Explosives are placeable ordnance devices featured throughout the ArmA series.

Overview

Russian Spetsnaz operative setting up an Explosive Satchel (ArmA 3)

Beginning with Cold War Assault, explosives have always made an appearance in every main ArmA title but vary in form and capability.

They can range from simple plastic explosives to the more powerful satchel charges, which are capable of destroying heavily-armoured vehicles such as Main Battle Tanks or reinforced, multi-level structures.

Unlike landmines which can be autonomously activated by their trigger mechanisms, explosives are always remotely triggered by the user or optionally, set on a timer. Because of this, simply neutralising the triggerman who planted the device is sufficient to prevent explosives from being set off - unless their timers were activated in which case, disarming the device will be necessary.

However, it should be noted that only Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) classes like demolition specialists, sappers/saboteurs and engineers, are able to safely disarm explosives (repair specialists cannot disarm them). Beginning with ArmA 3, the user must also possess a Toolkit within their inventory in order to dispose of them.

If there are no EOD units available, explosives can be cleared by shooting at them with small arms and other explosive devices (i.e. grenades). As explosives usually have quite a large kill zone radius, it is strongly advised that units keep a safe distance away from the device or take cover behind large objects before attempting to detonate them in this way (minimum 250 metres or more).

ArmA: Cold War Assault

In ArmA: Cold War Assault, two types of explosive devices are available to both U.S. and Soviet military engineers. Certain special operations units like U.S. black ops and Soviet Spetsnaz saboteurs also carry some charges as part of their default loadout.


« Satchel Charges are, by definition, improvised charges that are made out of several smaller units of explosives and placed in an easily transportable bag. They have two possible methods of detonation - a 30 second countdown timer, and a radio-transmitted command signal.
Equipment Description
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Satchel Charge

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
700 7
Satchel Charges are command-detonated. They are powerful enough to destroy most ground vehicles (aside from the T-80 and M1A1 heavy tanks).

Each charge occupies up to two slots of the user's inventory.

Time Bomb

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
700 7
The Time Bomb is identical to the Satchel Charge but exclusively relies on being set to a timer by its user. It cannot be detonated without activating its 30 second timer first.

In all other aspects, it remains completely identical (statistically) to Satchel Charges.

ArmA: Armed Assault

Unlike in Cold War Assault, ArmA: Armed Assault only features one usable explosive in the form of Satchel Charges. They are used by U.S. Army, SLA and RACS engineers/saboteurs.

They have a much smaller blast radius but compensate by inflicting almost twice the damage of its predecessor. As before, each satchel requires two free inventory slots to carry.


« Remotely controled or time fused charge used for demolitions and sabotage operations. The preferred weapon of unconventional forces who want to inflict maximum damage with minimal effort.
Library Description
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Satchel Charge

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
1,200 4
Satchel Charges can be either command-detonated or set to a timer.

With the exception of the M1A1 tank, most ground vehicles and structures can be instantly destroyed/demolished by satchel charges. Those that survive the initial blast will still be severely damaged or completely immobilised (in the case of the T-72).

ArmA 2

ArmA 2 features Satchel Charges as per usual but also retains Time Bombs from Cold War Assault once more. As always, both occupy two slots of the user's inventory and are utilised by all the main factions on BLUFOR, REDFOR and INDFOR with the exception of decentralised guerilla groups and United Nations peacekeepers.

They are usually carried by engineers and special operations units, though some non-SOF sapper classes also possess a few as part of their standard loadout. Some units may also have a few stowed inside their backpacks.


« A pipe bomb is an Improvised Explosive Device which contains one or more pipes filled with explosive material.
Even with easily obtained explosives like black powder the pipe bomb can produce a relatively large explosion.
Armoury Description
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Satchel Charge

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
1,200 4
Satchel Charges can be either command-detonated or set to a timer.

As before, most ground vehicles will take catastrophic damage or in the case of structures, instantly collapse. However, larger buildings may still need one or two additional charges to destroy.

Time-Bomb

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
1,200 4
Time-Bombs are visually identical to regular Satchel Charges but cannot be command-detonated. Rather, they can only be set to a 40 second timer and will not explode unless activated in this way.

ArmA 3

ArmA 3 is the first game to introduce less powerful but lighter to carry plastic explosives. Unlike satchels, their blast radius is smaller and they inflict only a third of the damage but many more can be carried at a time. In addition, they possess the advantage of being stowable inside the user's vest pouches, whereas satchels can only fit inside a backpack.

Like previous games, both Explosive Satchels and Explosive Charges are universally employed by all the main factions and sub-factions - with the exception of certain non-military organisations or non-state actor groups.

When carrying a Mine Detector or utilising a remote-controlled UGV/UAV, both explosives will appear as red diamonds once within range of the sensor. Humans (both player and AI-controlled) can still manually identify the explosive by "reporting" them - though it's obviously recommended to keep a fair distance away from the device to avoid being caught in the blast radius if the triggerman spots them.


« An explosive satchel is a charge placeable on the ground. It can be set to detonate either by using the built-in timer or a remote detonator. They are stronger than an explosive charge, capable of destroying whole buildings, but easier to spot.
Field Manual
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Explosive Satchel

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
3,000 5
Explosive Satchels are command-detonated or set on a timer. They weigh a total "mass" of 80 units and can only stored inside a backpack.

Explosive Satchels are powerful enough to bypass the armour plating on Main Battle Tanks depending on how the charge exploded. For instance, they can severely damage the engine or outright disable them and break treads in a single blast. However, they might not always destroy both in a single explosion.

Light vehicles will consistently explode from being caught in a single blast. Medium-armoured vehicles and MRAPs can withstand a single indirect blast, but will still be heavily damaged and suffer from fuel leakage. Reinforced military structures can usually survive satchel explosions, whereas civilian buildings and non-reinforced military structures will be instantly demolished.

« An explosive charge is placeable on the ground. It could be set to detonate either by the built-in timer or a remote detonator.
Field Manual
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Explosive Charge

Base damage value Blast radius (metres)
1,000 3
Explosive Charges are command-detonated or set on a timer. They weigh a "mass" of 20 and can be stored inside the user's vest or backpack.

Essentially a downgraded version of the Explosive Satchel, Explosive Charges only possess a third of their firepower and a 40% smaller blast radius. AI-controlled units will also have harder time detecting the charge, though Mine Detectors will spot them without any difficulty.

Trivia

  • ArmA 3 is the first and only title in the series (as of current) to feature real-world explosives rather than generic satchels. The Explosive Satchel is based on the U.S. Navy's "M183 Demolition Charge Assembly" while Explosive Charges are modelled after the U.S. Army's "M112 Demolition Block".

External links

See also

Equipment
Non-lethal BinocularsChemlightsCompassFlaresFlashlightsGPSInfrared StrobesLaser DesignatorMine DetectorNight Vision GogglesRadiosRangefindersSmoke GrenadesSpectrum DeviceToolkitUAV TerminalWatch
Lethal ExplosivesHand GrenadesLandminesUnderbarrel grenade launcher (Cold War Assault, Armed Assault, ArmA 2, ArmA 3, Reforger)
Medical BandageFirst Aid KitMedikit
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