2000 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 18:25:16 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Airborne UXO Technology
Federal agencies have tested an airborne unexploded ordnance (UXO)
characterization technology that shows significant promise. In June,
1999, the Army Corps' Engineering and Support Center (Huntsville) and
the Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrated an
innovative helicopter-based geophysical survey technology at the
Badlands Bombing Range between South Dakota and Nebraska. The
demonstration was funded by the Defense Department's Environmental
Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP).

A four-passenger commercial helicopter was fitted with an array of
cesium-vapor magnetometers, mounted on carbon-fiber booms. The chopper
flew at altitudes ranging from 3 to 9 feet at speeds up to 50 miles per

According to ESTCP's Summer, 2000 "Information Bulletin," the
"configuration optimized the sensitivity of the magnetometers, enabling
performance approaching that of surface-based magnetometer systems.
However, unlike surface-based systems, this airborne system enabled
detection and precision mapping (sub-meter accuracy) of potential UXO
without risk to humans and without damaging sensitive plant or animal
habitats or significant cultural sites....

"Based upon these preliminary results, the research team believes that
this is an appropriate cost-effective technology for remote-sensing of
UXO that reduces UXO life cycle costs and the time required for
remediation. Specifically, this technology 1) does not require surface
clearance, 2) can survey 100 percent of the chosen area without
destroying habitat, 3) does not require regulator buy-in as with
statistical sampling methods, and 4) avoids the "wasting" of resources
on areas that contain no UXO."

If this technology is perfected and validated, it should prove
beneficial at sites with fairly level terrain and no tall vegetation or



Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/968-1126

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