A collaborative program has been undertaken by the UK and US Governments to develop Countermine Capabilities for
Medium/Future Forces. The program is conducting research into a ground-based system for the detection and countering
of land mines on military routes. The overall objective of the program is to jointly develop and then evaluate a
demonstration system prototype.
This project was established as a three stage program. The first stage established a common UK/US military requirement
and conducted operational analysis based on generic sensors. Once the requirement and analysis were established,
candidate technologies appropriate to the timeframe of the program were assessed according to their Technology
Readiness Level (TRL). The program is currently in the second stage which is taking technologies identified from the
first stage and performing trials in both the UK and US aimed at a more detailed understanding of their baseline
performance. A trial in the UK was completed in 2005 where two US vehicle mounted sensor systems and one UK
vehicle mounted sensor system were trialled. The UK sensor system is described herein and consisted of three Electro-
Optic (EO) sensors that covered the visible, medium wave infra-red (IR) and long wave IR bands. The set-up of the UK
trial site and the assembly of the UK EO sensor system are discussed. Analysis of the trial data and preliminary research
on the feasibility of fusing data from the EO sensors are discussed.
This paper presents and compares two established methods for the automatic detection of landmines in ground penetrating radar (GPR) data. B-scan data of standard GPR targets and simulant landmines were collected from indoor sand and soil lanes. The images were pre-processed and the least squares method and the Hough transform were applied to objects of interest for the detection of hyperbolic signatures in the data. One drawback of the Hough transform is that it can be computationally expensive as it requires a search in 4-D space for hyperbolic shapes. In this case, it has been simplified so only a search in 1-D space is required, however this simplification did result in some missed detections.
A comparison of the NQR parameters of the monoclinic and orthorhombic phases of TNT and their relation to the twist or dihedral angle between the plane of the NO2 substituents and that of the benzene ring as determined in the X-Ray crystal structure analysis enables an assignment of different frequencies to specific sites in the two independent molecules in the unit cell of both forms to be made. The slow transformation of the metastable orthorhombic phase to monoclinic can then be followed by monitoring the NQR spectrum in which specific lines can be assigned to molecular sites in the two phases. NQR spectra of TNT referred to in the literature often differ; this could be due partly to the TNT often being a mixture of monoclinic and orthorhombic phases and partly to changes in the spectral line width, factors which must be taken into account when NQR is used to detect landmines.
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is an established technology for detecting anomalies beneath the surface of the ground. GPR systems currently in use tend to be hand held or trolley mounted devices that can be moved smoothly over the surface with little or no stand off from the ground and normally have a single transmit/receive antenna pair. However, these properties are quite different from the requirements of a vehicle mounted system such as track width coverage, variable ground clearance and a noisier environment. This paper, based on Countermine research carried out by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), details the development and application of a military, vehicle mounted GPR system. Requirements of a vehicle mounted system are outlined and research towards creating a multi-antenna, vehicle mounted technology demonstrator is discussed. The paper also examines methods of data representation for GPR systems and the advantages that can be gained in this area using a multi-antenna array such as enhanced imagery and three dimensional reconstruction of objects beneath the surface.
Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR) is being researched as a confirmatory sensor for use in mine detection as part of the research carried out by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) for the UK MOD Applied Research Programme. NQR is a radio frequency (RF) spectroscopy technique used at close range to detect explosives, typically TNT and RDX, found in anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines. Detection is carried out by averaging NQR data until the signal to noise ratio increases enough for the signal to be distinguished from RF noise and interference. Environmental RF noise dominates the received signal because NQR signals are, in comparison, extremely low in magnitude. Therefore, RF interference, which varies depending on the time of day, environment, and frequency of the radiation, directly affects detection times. Methods of reducing RF interference such as antenna design, signal processing and phase cycling are reviewed and discussed. Results are presented from research undertaken to enhance the signal to noise ratio, taken in various environments.