Remote Sensing of Surface UXO with Active Laser and Passive Infrared Airborne Line Scanner
Objectives of the Demonstration
The Department of Defense (DoD) owns millions of acres of land with unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination. To make cost-effective decisions about land remediation and reuse, accurate characterization of these sites is necessary. This ESTCP project evaluated the multi-use application of the Remote Mine Field Detection System (REMIDS), a helicopter-mounted sensing and processing system. Originally designed for airborne minefield detection, REMIDS can be used as a tool for detecting surface UXO. This detection is based on the remote identification of surface anomalies and materials that indicate the presence of explosive ordnance contamination.
The system - flown in a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter - consists of an active/passive line scanner, real-time processing and display equipment, and navigational equipment. The scanner collects optically aligned image data over three channels: two active laser channels (one polarized reflectance, one total reflectance) and a passive thermal infrared channel. The real-time processing and display system makes use of a parallel processor and incorporates onboard recording and a Global Positioning System (GPS). The GPS recorder allows the exact location of contaminated areas to be input into Geographical Information System software that maps the facility. Test flights evaluated the hardware and software performance and took place over UXO test sites at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
The test flights and recorded data were used to evaluate the capabilities of the system. The overall performance of the hardware was good. Independent evaluation showed the flight data was correctly recorded and the targets cued. Also, the GPS data was correctly recorded and integrated into the flight data. Overall, REMIDS was very successful in detecting the surface UXOs at the test site.
The use of remote detection reduces the risk to personnel during UXO detection and location operations. The airborne system also expedites these operations, allowing future remediation activity to be implemented promptly. The cleanup of military ranges, formerly used defense sites, ammunition disposal sites, and other UXO-contaminated areas will help avoid the loss of human life due to UXO accidents. (Project Completed - 1999)
The results of this demonstration show that REMIDS is a promising technology ready for technology transfer.