Special operations forces (SOF) operating in war-zone environments are not regularly welcomed with open arms by their adversaries. In fact, their adversaries provide a variety of obstacles designed to keep them at arm’s length. As a result, SOF personnel requested a compact, lightweight, hand-held tool that would allow them to cut through locks, bars and other barriers.
The TEC Torch – a small, hand-held thermal erosive cutting (TEC) torch that can cut through steel bars in two seconds. Current systems require large oxygen tanks, hoses and separate ignition systems. The TEC torch uses a reusable handle and a disposable cartridge. The combined unit weighs one pound (0.45 kg.) and measures 13 inches (33 cm.) in length, and 1.5 inches (38.1 mm.) in diameter. The device can be used for breaching, forced entry and in rescue operations, as well as for the neutralization of explosive devices (EOD-UXO) and thermal destruction of objects and systems on land and underwater.
The torch operates by feeding combustion products jet through an engineered nozzle for approximately 2 seconds. The escaping jet is a combination of vaporized metal and particulate which quickly heats the target above its melting point and erodes the target material away. Cartridges contain a unique thermite formulation to achieve maximum temperature and velocity for optimized cutting performance. The cutting jet burns hotter than 4000°F. Cartridges are designed to contain this intense pressure and thermal energy safely within inches of the operator’s hand.
The rod cutter is designed to be fast, cutting a solid steel rod up to 0.75 inch (19 mm.) of hardened, plain carbon, or stainless, in two seconds.
The company is also developing scaled-up cartridges designed for heavy rod cutting up to 2 inch (50.8 mm) diameter and plates to 1.25 inch (31.7 mm) thickness.
Since fuel and oxidizer components are fully contained inside a sealed cartridge body, the torch effectively operates underwater. Testing are currently underway to characterize the performance and safety of the devices at depths up to 40 meter.
The rod cutter is designed to be fast, cutting a solid steel rod up to 0.75 inch (19 mm.) of hardened, plain carbon, or stainless, in two seconds. Photo: EMPI
Nick Fury’s cutting tool from the Captain America’s Winters Soldier is basically real