The history of plastic explosives originated at the time of WWII, when the special corps responsible for the demolition works needed easily shaped, high-strength and water resistant explosives, resistant to high temperatures, and in particular, safe for handling. The first types were high-strength crystalline explosives with oil, vaseline, or natural rubber. The plastic properties of explosives were gradually improved by using synthetic binding agents and plasticizers.
The SEMTEX® plastic explosive was developed at the end of the 1950s, and the serial production started in the 1960s. The title SEMTEX stands for the words SEMTín and EXplosive. SEMTEX® was originally designed as a preparation for clearing of mines; however, step by step its application expanded to civil blasting works, especially as an explosive suitable for primers and special demolition works.
Initially, SEMTEX® was manufactured under the marking of B 1 for military use. Since 1964 it was produced under the name of SEMTEX® 1A, since 1967 as SEMTEX® H, and since1987 as SEMTEX® 10. SEMTEX® 1 A was mainly used locally, SEMTEX® H was exported abroad, especially to Vietnam for clearing of mines and pyrotechnical works. In 1981, its export into dangerous countries was forbidden, and the export was only permitted to the countries of the Warsaw Treaty. The export of this explosive was completely prohibited in 1989.
The experts from the Research Institute of Industrial Chemistry, which is part of the company Explosia, actively took part in international debates on marking and detection of plastic explosives at the beginning of the 90s, and they helped create the “Convention on marking of plastic explosives for detection purposes” concluded in Montreal on 1st March 1991. Czechoslovakia, as one of the first countries, ratified this treaty, and Explosia as one of the first producers in the world marks all of its production of plastic explosives in the required way (DMNB).
Since 1991 we have had the approval to export the SEMTEX® brand explosive again. The business complies with all valid legislation and is under the control of relevant state authorities.
During various interviews, it was said many times on behalf of the Explosia company that SEMTEX® is neither the most efficient explosive in the world nor a non-detectable explosive, and finally, it is not the only explosive misused by terrorists. The simple and reasonable fact that the producer cannot guarantee that their product will not be misused after being launched onto the market is usually not accepted in cases of the explosive of SEMTEX®.
Obviously, interest and questions from the media regarding the SEMTEX® explosive always appear after any terrorist attack anywhere in the world, or on other occasions when the name SEMTEX® appears in public.