There are nearly six million acres of closed, transferred, and transferring ranges contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO). The projected cost to remediate these lands ranges from $10 to $100 billion. These cost estimates are based on remediation using the traditional "mag and flag" method. This technique is slow, labor intensive, and inefficient with upwards of 70 percent of the costs going toward removal of nonUXO items and investigation of "dry holes." In addition, "mag and flag" is a handheld method that depends on the skill and attention of individual operators such that it does not result in a definable level of residual risk.
The objective of this project is to develop and produce a prototype ordnance-specific electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor optimized for UXO detection, classification, and identification.
There are three key design issues that will be considered in the initial and subsequent designs of the prototype sensor. These are the trade-offs of frequency- vs. time-domain systems (or a hybrid approach if warranted), the details of coil design and deployment strategy to yield optimum classification performance (especially for the case of closely spaced targets), and the reduction of system noise. The optimum sensor for UXO discrimination will be specified, and a practicable system that can be transitioned to the commercial sector will be designed, produced, and tested. The existing Multi-Sensor Towed Array Detection System (MTADS) will be used as a testbed for studying deployment issues arising in the course of the research and development activities.
The benefit of the sensor development will be primarily economic. As previously mentioned, costs of a typical UXO remediation are driven by investigation of nonUXO metallic objects. A reduction in the number of nonUXO targets will result in a large reduction in the cost of remediation projects.