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Foreign object damage (FOD)

Definition Foreign Object Damage (FOD) in military operations refers to damage caused to aircraft, equipment, or personnel due to debris or foreign objects on runways or other operating areas. It could involve a variety of materials, including rocks, tools, parts of other aircraft, or any other debris. This damage can often result in costly equipment […]


Foreign Object Damage (FOD) in military operations refers to damage caused to aircraft, equipment, or personnel due to debris or foreign objects on runways or other operating areas. It could involve a variety of materials, including rocks, tools, parts of other aircraft, or any other debris. This damage can often result in costly equipment repairs or even serious accidents.

Key Takeaways

  1. Foreign Object Damage (FOD) is a significant concern in military operations, particularly in the aviation sector. It refers to impairment caused to an aircraft’s parts due to foreign objects, which could include anything from equipment, tools, rocks, debris, and even birds.
  2. FOD can potentially cause severe damage leading to unscheduled maintenance, loss of productivity, or in extreme cases, catastrophic accidents presenting a serious risk to flight safety. Thus, prevention and regular checks for FOD become crucial in military operations.
  3. In order to control and reduce FOD, many military organizations use strategies like FOD walk-downs, awareness training programs, and implementing FOD prevention equipment such as high-quality matting systems that can trap and hold debris.


Foreign Object Damage (FOD) is a crucial term in military operations due to its potential to inflict significant harm to equipment, particularly aircraft.

FOD refers to damage caused by foreign objects, which can range from small debris on a runway to tools left within an aircraft’s structure during manufacturing or maintenance.

These objects can be ingested into an aircraft’s engine or strike its exterior, causing substantial damage that can compromise operational readiness and safety.

Furthermore, FOD incidents can lead to costly repairs and downtime, negatively impacting the efficiency and budget of military operations.

Consequently, prevention of FOD is a critical aspect of maintaining the ongoing safety and effectiveness of military activities.


Foreign Object Damage (FOD) is a crucial concept within military operations, underlining the purpose of establishing a secure environment for critical machinery and vehicles, such as aircraft and ground support equipment. The ultimate purpose of addressing FOD is to secure these valuable assets from any potential harm or damage stemming from foreign bodies.

This could be as small as misplaced tools, rocks, trash, or other forms of debris, but their implications can be significantly substantial, potentially resulting in severe financial losses, equipment damage, and even loss of life. In terms of its utilization within military operations, FOD prevention measures are primarily employed to prevent accidents or equipment failures.

Regular checks and strict maintenance routines are part of this strategy, ensuring that equipment like jet engines are free from any foreign objects that can induce substantial harm. Furthermore, the application of FOD prevention also extends to the careful management of operational spaces, such as runways or hangars, where FOD can present serious hazards.

Consequently, the objective of FOD procedures is not only concerned with ensuring the operational viability of machinery, but it’s also about safeguarding human lives and maintaining financial stability by preventing unforeseen accidents or equipment failures.

Examples of Foreign object damage (FOD)

Aircraft Engines: One of the most common examples of foreign object damage (FOD) in real-world military operations involves aircraft engines. These engines operate at high speeds and any intrusion of foreign objects, like pieces of debris, tools, or bird strikes, can cause significant damage. An instance occurred in 2017 when a US Navy plane ingested debris on a runway, causing millions of dollars in damage.

Naval Operations: FOD also frequently impacts naval operations. For example, in 2006, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier experienced FOD when rope was sucked into its propulsion system. This incident caused extensive damage, requiring several weeks of maintenance and repairs.

Ground Vehicles: Military ground vehicles, such as tanks and Humvees, are also susceptible to FOD. During Operation Desert Storm, for instance, many military vehicles experienced damage from the harsh desert conditions. Sand and small rocks interfered with tire treads, engines, and sensitive equipment, leading to functional issues and equipment breakdowns.

FAQs on Foreign Object Damage (FOD)

What is Foreign Object Damage (FOD)?

Foreign Object Damage (FOD) refers to the impairment or harm afflicted to an aircraft’s parts or systems caused by foreign objects like debris on the airstrip or runway. It includes a wide variety of damages related to aviation, aerospace, manufacturing, and even motor racing industries.

What are the primary causes of FOD?

The primary causes of FOD include loose hardware, building materials, tools, personal items, trash, or wildlife found on the runway or within the aircraft.

What are the potential impacts of FOD?

FOD can cause significant disruption to operations, including aircraft damage, disruptions to air traffic, environmental harm, and potential loss of lives. The financial impact from repairs and delays can reach billions of dollars annually.

How can FOD be prevented?

FOD can be prevented through regular inspections, cleaning of runways and aircraft, and implementing strict protocols to control loose objects and wildlife. Innovative technologies such as automated FOD detection systems are also being deployed across many airports.

Are there any specific programs to battle FOD?

Yes, various programs like the FOD Prevention Program and the National Aerospace FOD Prevention Inc. have been implemented to mitigate FOD. These programs focus on spreading awareness, standardizing procedures, and integrating innovative technologies to prevent FOD.

Related Military Operation Terms

Sure, here is a list in HTML format:

  • Military Equipment Damage
  • VA Injury Compensation
  • Aircraft Operation Safety
  • Flight Line Operations
  • Preventive Maintenance

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