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MGM test site in Southern Angola

Ondjiva ERW Detection Centre

Name: Ondjiva ERW detection centre
Short description: Outdoor test facility with multiple soil types. Some lanes have water-table control, sifted content and side walls. Long-term placed targets include many and various mines, all with metal content, many with HE.



Mechanical Equipment

Detector / Sensor

Protection Equipment



 Metal, HE, shape/density for mines and common UXO

Point of contact:

Name: Hendrik Ehlers

Stiftung Menschen gegen Minen eV, MgM MineClearance NGO

Moltkestr. 1

D - 47799 Krefeld Germany

Telephone: ++49/2151/64682-0
Fax: ++49/2151/64682-70

Function: Chairman, Director OPS and R&D
Phone / Fax: Cel: +264 81 1277020; Fax: +264 61 243477

General information:

Indoor / outdoor: Outdoor with covered area that can be seeded with targets if required (distance to nearest metal can be 3m+).
Test area (m2): Up to 1000. 115 m2 of surface area is currently in prepared lanes with targets in place.
Explosive allowed: Yes, HE (TNT and RDX) is among the targets.

Test lanes are 200m from an international airport with regular flights to Namibia. Comfortable and secure hotel accommodation is 400m from the test area. The securely fenced test area is within a fully functional MgM base-camp that includes ablution facilities, workshop etc.

Working office:

Size (m2)

Heating / Cooling

Phone / Fax

Internet access

(for visiting users)





Particular constraints

Working hours: 06:00-18:00 24-hour operation under lights can be arranged.
Remarks: The presence of HE in the test area (albeit without live detonators) leads MgM to provide a field-medic during all tests.
Entrance requirements: By arrangement with MgM. Access to Ondjiva, travel and visas, can be arranged through MgM. Similarly, hotel accommodation may be booked through MgM.
Remarks: By prior arrangement, all users of the centre can be accompanied by MgM personnel between the airport, test centre and the hotel. This is recommended for visitors who do not speak fluent Portuguese.


Mechanical workshop: Yes
Remarks: Fully equipped
Services supplied: Electricity Fuel Water Compressed air
Office and workshop: 360, 220, 110, 24, 12. Y Y Y
Remarks: The Hotel restaurant is within easy walking distance. Food can be supplied on site by prior arrangement. Cold drinks are always on site.
Canteen: Under construction
Distance (km): Hotel: 400m

Airport: Ondjiva International Airport, 200m

Remarks: The test centre is close to the border with Namibia and can be supplied by road. That region of Angola is peaceful and prosperous. MgM enjoys a good and cooperative relationship with the Provincial Authorities on both sides of the border. All visitors must agree to be guided by MgM in their interaction with the local populace and authorities.


To serve EU sponsored research projects of which MgM was a partner, MgM constructed a multi-sensor detector test area near the town of Ondjiva in Southern Angola during April 2001. The area is securely fenced and within a large MgM compound on the outskirts of a rural town. The area has been used for its original trials and is now offered for use by other research and development programmes. The area contains real mines and UXO (rendered safe) and allows the testing of the full range of potential mine-detection equipment, including sensor-fusion initiatives.

MgM provides a fully equipped mobile office placed within the test-area for the duration of any trials.

MgM can also offer independent observers and confidential reporting services if required. This can include advice over devising appropriate tests to maximise the utility of the results from a field-user perspective.

Description of the test lanes

The currently seeded area comprises seven lanes each 11 meters long and a meter and a half wide. Five of the lanes are sifted to either 75 or 100cm and contain local soils. Four are lined with plastic walls to prevent ingress of roots. Two lanes have been left undisturbed (although cleared of metal content using conventional metal detectors). Not only are the targets more realistic (and in the correct condition) than those offered by other facilities, the soils are also from genuine mined areas and the ambient conditions are common to demining in many areas.

Two lanes have been filled with soil from another area (ferrous oxide rich), the others had their original sandy content replaced. All have some light vegetation cover at the right times of year.

Two lanes have land-drain pipes in their base, ensuring that they remain dry except during the heaviest rains (the wet season is predictable, so check before booking if this matters).

MgM can create new lanes to your specification and seed them with your chosen targets by arrangement.

As illustrated, MgM can also make simple sensor platforms to allow incomplete systems to be evaluated. By prior arrangement, MgM can also fit sensors to a mine-protected vehicle for this purpose.

All targets are placed in a one meter wide band at the centre of the lane, so leaving 25cm on each side with no target. All targets are at least 50cm apart.

Description of the targets

The position of all targets was mapped and a photograph taken before placement. Some small movements during settling should be expected but the area is level so significant movement is not anticipated. The detailed record of the position of objects can be with-held or made available according to the needs of those making tests. Selected targets can be exposed for confirmation by prior agreement.

A total of 72 targets (some "innocent") are placed. These are:

- 1 x MAI-75 - original HE filling and surrogate detonator
- 4 x MAI- 75 - surrogate HE filling and surrogate detonator
- 5 x PPM-2 - surrogate HE filling and surrogate detonator
- 1 x PMA-1 - original HE (200g block of TNT) filling and surrogate detonator
- 1 x PMA-2 - surrogate HE filling and surrogate detonator
- 1 x PMA-3 - surrogate HE filling and surrogate detonator
- 3 x Type 72 AP - original HE filling, surrogate booster charge and original detonator
- 3 x Type 72 AP - original HE filling, spring inverted, original detonator, no booster charge
- 1 x Type 72 AP - lower half only with original HE filling, no booster charge and original detonator
- 2 x R2M2 AP - surrogate HE charge, pin inverted, original detonator, no booster charge
- 1 x R2M2 - original HE (RDX) filling, pin inverted, original detonator, no booster charge
- 1 x PMR fragmentation mine, no HE, surrogate detonator and original MUV fuse with surrogate detonator.
- 1 x TM57 AT - original HE filling, no fuze
- 2 x TM46 AT - original HE filling, no fuze
- 2 x HE surrogate 200g blocks with surrogate detonator and original MUV fuse, as used in PMD-6, etc.
- 1 x Hand grenade with original HE filling and no detonator but fuse system (heavily rusted)
- 1 x Hand grenade with original HE filling and rubber plug, no detonator or firing mechanism
- 1 x Hand grenade with surrogate HE filling, live detonator & firing mechanism in fine condition (do not pull pin!)
- 3 x Shaped-charge stick grenades without detonator or handle, original HE filling
- 1 x large ammunition round (unfired)
- 2 x 82mm Mortars, original HE filling, no fuses, rubber plug
- 1 x Metal tripwire stake and tripwire
- 1 x wooden tripwire stake and tripwire
- 1 x magazine from rifle
- 1 x rifle (as discovered buried) with ammunition removed
- 2 x Pieces of TNT, various size
- 5 x groups of bullet (5-10 in number) – placed in groups – (unfired)
- 2 x beer bottle
- 8 x cans in various conditions in groups of 1 or 2 (most vintage 1988)
- 1 x military issue plastic tube (as discovered)
- 8 x roots in groups of 1-4
- 1 x ring- pull (from drink-can)
- 3 x rocks (large concrete chunks)

The surrogate HE used was a rubber moulding formula (RTV3110). This has a dielectric constant, thermal conductivity, density and radar image that mimics TNT very closely.

Other targets can be specified and placed in new lanes (subject to availability).

Supporting equipment

Weather conditions at the test centre can be recorded with a weather station.

Possibilities for research

The area was used in one project for data gathering and concept appraisal and will be used in August 2002 for true trials of another multi-sensor project. It is believed to be unique because it includes real examples of minimum metal anti-personnel mines that are notoriously difficult to locate.

Being at a demining NGO base provides the potential for researchers to evaluate how easily MgM's top-grade deminers could cope with the equipment, and also (by prior arrangement) witness demining as it is currently done (simulated or, subject to appropriate insurance, real).

MgM is willing to consider all suggestions for extending/improving the area to meet the needs of other groups.

The site in construction
The site being constructed

After sifting the infill

Positioning of a sensor-head gantry
Researchers using temporary rails to allow a sensor-head gantry to be positioned during data gathering.

Data gathering through a hand-held device
A hand-held device being used for data-gathering

Some of the targets currently in the Ondjiva ERW detection centre
Some of the targets currently in the Ondjiva ERW detection centre

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