Battlespace Tech

Can a handheld device detect IEDs?

In its continuing effort to prevent injuries caused by buried explosives, the Army is looking to put the latest detection technologies into a lightweight handheld device with a user-friendly interface that accommodates data from multiple sensors.

The Army has issued a solicitation looking to collect information in nine areas related to detecting buried explosives, which can include landmines, metallic and non-metallic improvised explosive devices and triggering devices with non-metallic conducting components and wires, the solicitation said.

Those nine areas of interest the Army wants to investigate:

1. New ground penetrating radar antennas designs with a larger detection footprint, deeper detection and better signal-to-noise ratios. And it would have to fit in the smaller package. GPR can look like small tractors, lawnmowers or, in some cases, something you look for coins with at the beach.

2. Electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor designs capable of detecting the full range of metallic and low-metallic buried explosive hazards components listed above.

3. New methods for detecting wires, possible with alternative sensors that can increase probability of detection of wires over GPR and EMI sensors alone.

4. Integrated solutions for tracking the position of all detection sensors during operation, with accuracy down to a centimeter.

5. User interface display designs that can provide additional information on targets encountered and feedback of sensor responses and position. The Army wants to be able present data from all sensors to the user with both 2D and 3D visual representations on a display that can be mounted or integrated on the detector.

6. Techniques for achieving higher signal-to-noise ratios in sensor components, including techniques to stack signals and incorporate positioning information to further improve detection localization, target identification, multi-target resolution and clutter discrimination.

7. New detection algorithms making use of enhanced sensor data and positional information to achieve the same goals listed in No. 6.

8. Designs to integrate sensor components with positioning sensors to validate proof of concepts for new handheld detector approaches. Reducing the size, weight and power requirements of detectors could involve lightweight structural materials and novel sources of power.

9. Lastly, the Army wants interested parties to validate the ability of all sensors, display designs and algorithms, identifying the advantages and challenges of integrating local positioning data with sensor data.

The response date for interested vendors is March 9.

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