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).
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.