Remote Minefield Detection System (REMIDS)
This technology, called the Remote Minefield Detection System (REMIDS), helps to characterize sites that have landmines present. REMIDS may also be used as a tool for detecting surface unexploded ordnance (UXO). According to the Red Cross, 2,000 people outside of the United States are injured or killed every month by landmines. The Department of Defense (DoD) estimates that there are 15 million acres within the U.S. that may be contaminated with UXO, with only a small portion of this land expected to contain landmines.
The REMIDS technology uses a helicopter-mounted sensing and processing system. The helicopter is typically flown at an elevation of 130 feet at a speed of 32 knots (1 knot is equivalent to 1.15 miles per hour). The principle behind REMIDS is to enhance the discrimination of surface objects by relying on multiple signatures: surface UXO or mines may exhibit a unique combination of reflectance, polarization, temperature, and footprint (shape). Using laser and infrared scanners and a Global Positioning System (GPS), it detects and maps the presence of land mines and possibly other UXO. Remote detection reduces the risk to clearance personnel, and the airborne platform allows for the rapid surveillance of large areas. The sensors permit the detection of non-ferrous objects, as well as ferrous, and they are able to locate “potential hot regions” of buried UXO by correlating surface debris with buried UXO.
Limitations and Concerns
The effectiveness of this system to detect mines and other UXO and its ability to distinguish mines and UXO from non-explosive items on the ground relies upon prior information about the type of material being looked for.
Disposal teams must follow up detection and mapping on the ground. Since REMIDS is not designed to detect buried UXO or mines, clearance personnel may still be at risk.
REMIDS’ laser relies on direct line of sight. Thus, broad-leaf vegetation, trees, low lying vegetation, snow, and even dust can all inhibit the detection of surface UXO.
REMIDS performance is highly site-dependent. At a grassy site, it effectively identified targets; at a desert site, the glare interfered with the sensors.
REMIDS relies heavily on an operator to discriminate UXO from background and raises questions concerning operator training and operator-to-operator variability.
This technology is designed to identify landmines and other UXO in surface soil.
Technology Development Status
Because there is little information about the effectiveness of REMIDS, it should be considered an emerging technology
Other Resources and Demonstrations
See http://www.serdp-estcp.org/content/download/4452/66185/file/199523.pdf. This report describes the REMIDS developed by the U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station to detect surface UXO, and it reviews the performance of REMIDS in tests at the Yuma Proving Ground (Arizona) and Ft. Rucker (Alabama). Conclusions reached were that if the background is grassy, there is a good detection probability for surface targets.
See http://school.mech.uwa.edu.au/~jamest/demining/others/ITC/postergeneral.pdf for an article about remote minefield detection in Mozambique.