Success Classifying Munitions in Wooded Areas

The ESTCP Classification Pilot Program completed the first successful demonstration of newly developed man-portable electromagnetic induction (EMI) systems for munitions response at the former Camp Beale, California. These systems achieved outstanding results classifying munitions from other nonhazardous items under challenging site conditions.

The demonstration at the former Camp Beale was designed to investigate classification at a partially wooded site with sloped terrain and a mix of munition types, ranging in size from small 37mm projectiles to 105mm projectiles. The tree cover posed a navigational and positioning challenge by increasing the difficulty of obtaining accurate GPS readings. This site provided an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and limitations of classification given site conditions likely to be encountered on production sites.

Approach

The demonstration area totaled approximately 10 acres and was divided into sub-areas—treed areas where man-portable EMI systems in cued mode were demonstrated, open areas where Geometrics’ MetalMapper (MM) commercial towed array in cued mode was demonstrated, and an overlap area where both were demonstrated. The man-portable systems included the Naval Research Laboratory’s TEMTADS 2x2x3 cart, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s portable Berkeley UXO Discriminator (BUD), and Sky Research’s Man-Portable Vector (MPV) handheld system. All of the data were analyzed by several groups using a number of feature extraction and classification algorithms.

The site was seeded with inert munitions for QC purposes, and all anomalies were dug to confirm technology performance. Demonstrators were scored based on their ability to eliminate nonhazardous items while retaining all detected munitions. 

Results

All sensors achieved exceptional classification performance on a site with the presence of a small munition type, tree cover, and sloped terrain. In their first Pilot Program demonstration, the three man-portable systems performed nearly identically and were able to achieve 100 percent classification for targets-of-interest while rejecting more than 80 percent of the nonhazardous clutter. The man-portable sensors also performed equivalently to the MM, which has been successfully validated in the current and several prior live site demonstrations. A simple cost model based on these results shows the potential for large savings as the classification approach is adopted on munitions response sites. Classification significantly accelerates the timeline for remediating munitions-contaminated sites.  

MPV data collection at the former Camp Beale, CA

MPV data collection at the former Camp Beale, CA

Future Demonstrations

A number of Pilot Program demonstrations are planned for 2012. Upcoming demonstration sites include the former Spencer Artillery Range, Tennessee, and the Massachusetts Military Reservation – Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. Each site contains a variety of munition types and Spencer Artillery Range includes a partially wooded area.

For further information and reports from the ESTCP Classification Pilot Program demonstration at the former Camp Beale, visit Featured Initiatives > Munitions Response Initiatives > Classification Applied to Munitions Response > Former Camp Beale. General information on the ESTCP Classification Pilot Program is available at Featured Initiatives > Munitions Response Initiatives > Classification Applied to Munitions Response.

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