Jaycor has developed a proof-of-principle stand-off mine detection system funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) through U.S. Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. The Jaycor system is the only known system that can detect and identify mine types at a substantial range (up to 30 meters/100 feet) with a low false detection rate. It can detect both surface and buried mines.
A concept vehicle has been built to allow for the demonstration and the improvement of Jaycor's frequency-agile concept of a stand-off mine detection ground penetrating radar. The total concept system weighs about 200 pounds and is mounted on a HMMWV. The radar has been developed using only off-the-shelf commercially available components.
The system uses a stepped continuous wave (CW) signal, with three horn antennas. The stepped CW approach, going from 0.5 to 4 GHz, allows the system to excite the resonant frequencies of all mine targets. This stepped CW approach creates the ability to obtain detectable signals from all targets, as well as the ability to identify the targets based on resonant frequencies. Of the three horns, the middle horn transmits, while the outside two receive, which allows for azimuth detection, as well as range determination and identification.
The result is a system capable of detecting, locating, and identifying targets at safe stand-off ranges of up to 100 feet. The total radiated power is 1 watt although there are plans to increase the power to 10 watts.
From "Anti-Personnel Landmine (APL) Detection Technology Survey and Assessment" dated March 1999:
Work is proceeding on a prototype Humvee-mounted ATL detection system that includes the ground penetrating radar as well as a quantum well FLIR, which would be used to confirm targets, potentially improving system performance. Upgrades will also be made in computer controls and data processing capabilities. The system’s 3 dB detection beam is 60 degrees wide, but can be made wider, depending on the application. The design goal is a system that can detect ATL buried up to eight inches, within an eight meter swath and at a stand-off range of 60 meters, with an effectiveness of 80% to 90% and one false alarm per 50 square meters. The vehicle is allowed a maximum forward progression of 5 kph. The radar of this newest system weighs 100 lbs., the computer weighs 50 lbs., and the three antennas weigh 30 lbs. each. The system also requires a two kilowatt power source, for which a generator is hung off the back of the Humvee. This system is also to include GPS technology for marking detected landmines.
Researchers at TRW Space and Electronics Group in California addressed the detection using passive MMW sensors of MMW radiation (at 44Ghz) emitted from an environment containing metal landmines laid on the surface of, or buried in, dry sand. MMW radiation from soil, which has a high emissivity and low reflectivity, depends mostly on its temperature, while MMW radiation from metal, which has a high reflectivity and low emissivity, depends mostly on the presence of ambient radiation. TRW concludes from their research that, using passive MMW sensors under ideal laboratory conditions, metal can be detected when buried up to three inches in dry sand. Field calibration tests of the Humvee-based system were held at 1 Fort A.P. Hill in June 1997. JAYCOR engineers indicate it did not perform well during those tests due to local RF transmissions (i.e., from cell phones, pagers) interfering with sensor operation. However, the system, when operated after the tests in an “RF-quiet” area, performed very well, detecting the majority of randomly-placed plastic and metal APL buried up to 6 inches deep. JAYCOR indicates that system hardware currently operates as planned, but system software is not yet fully developed. Complete field tests of the Humvee-based system are planned for June 1998, possibly at Fort A.P. Hill.
The jeep-mounted system was developed at a cost of $1.8 million, while the Humvee-mounted system has a budget of $8 million, which is provided through the U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronics Sensors Directorate (CECOM/NVESD) at Fort Belvoir.
Assessment: Though limited as a ground-based system for non-WAD applications, this system may satisfy ground-truthing/proofing requirement following WAD activities. The ability to detect and recognize all possible resonance signatures (including APL and ATL) for all environments may also need further development and testing. Given the methodical developmental approach taken by JAYCOR, particularly with the HUMVEE-based system, this project warrants monitoring and a reassessment of future developments for potential deployment on an aerial platform.
Special Thanks to site member Henk Schutte for making me aware of some of the information.