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Canadian Centre for Mine Action

Technologies (CCMAT)

Canadian Centre for Mine Action Technologies (CCMAT)Defence Research Establishment Suffield
PO 4000, Station Main
Medicine Hat, Alberta
T1C 1C9
Country: Canada
Nearest big towns: Medicine Hat (50 km) Calgary (250 km WNW)
Web site:

Point of contact:

Name: Chris Weickert
Organisation: CCMAT
Function: Manager
Phone / Fax: (403) 544-5325 / (403) 544-5324 

General information:

Indoor test area (m2): Greater than 5000 m2
Outdoor test area (m2): 500 square kilometres

Particular constraints:

Working hours: Normally 0800-1630 hrs Monday through Friday.
Remarks: Arrangements can be made for weekend and evening work.
Entrance requirements: Foreign country : nil for CCMAT work
Military : nil for CCMAT work
Remarks: Secure work can be undertaken up to the Top Secret level but normally work conducted by CCMAT is unclassified.


Mechanical workshop: Yes
Remarks:  Full range of metal and wood working stationary and portable tools including numerical controlled machines. Auto CAD capability. Cranes, Forklifts, vehicle mounted cranes (Payload : 5 Tonnes in shop, 35 tonnes lift available outside)
Explosive allowed: Yes; see individual facilities. Fragmentation: Yes
Remarks: Quantity of TNT equivalent : Essentially unlimited.

DRES have conducted open air tests with up to 500 tonnes of TNT

Services supplied:




Compressed air

Yes: 110/220/550V60 Hz


Diesel / Gasoline



Remarks: Fixed and portable power available on fixed and temporary sites
Canteen: Yes
Distance (km): Main town : Medicine Hat (50 km) Population 48,000
Hotel : Ample lodging and restaurants available. Meals available at CFB Suffield/CCMAT
Railway station : Nil passenger service Freight to CFB Suffield (6 km to Railhead)
Airport : at Medicine Hat; Numerous flights daily from Calgary

List of testing facilities available:

CCMAT is co-located with the Defence Research Establishment Suffield (DRES) and has ready access to all the test facilities used by DRES for its military countermine program.Test and evaluation facilities exist at three locations on the Experimental Proving Ground, these are:
  • The Mine Effects Site (protection and neutralization)
  • The Mechanical Equipment Test Site
  • The Mine Detection Site

Completed, ongoing and planned test & evaluation projects - Detection:

Wide area detection/remote detection: Hyperspectral imaging (HI) development and trials to define the ability of HI to detect buried mines, to develop a thermal infrared hyperspectral imager and to test derived detection algorithms. Staff also participated in the airborne multispectral trial (MUST 2000) in Northern Australia and are conducting data analysis of results collected over the minefield target. Program has been in place for more than 10 years and is funded to 2003. Contact is Dr .

Metal detector trials: Trials of a wide variety of hand-held and (occasionally) wide array metal detectors to define the capabilities and limitations of off-the-shelf and developmental detectors. Trials conducted at CCMAT and in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia and Bosnia. Most recent major trial was as part of the International Pilot Project for Technical Cooperation (IPPTC). Program is ongoing. Contacts are Dr and Mr

Instrumented prodder: T&E of developmental instrumented prodder which is designed to discriminate between naturally occurring objects, such as rocks, and mine materials, such as metal and plastic. Trials to define the capabilities and limitations of developmental instrumented prodders prior to introducing them into the humanitarian demining community. Latest trial completed in October 1999. Trial of a new version tentatively scheduled for late 2001 at CCMAT. Contact is Mr .

GPR mine detectors: T&E of vehicle mounted anti-tank GPR detectors and investigation into the use of GPR to detect AP mines. Investigate and develop software and techniques to improve the detectability of AP minesusing commercially available GPR detectors. Program is ongoing and funded to 2002. Contact is Mr

Tripwire detectors: T&E of optical tripwire detector currently under development for CCMAT will be done in a variety of backgrounds, light conditions and using a variety of tripwire materials and configurations. Vehicle mounted breadboard version by late 2001 and prototype hand-held version by late 2002. Contact is Dr

Nuclear techniques: T&E of various nuclear-based mine detection instruments under development at CCMAT and DRES. Characterization of response and operating parameters of an improved thermal neutron activation (TNA) confirmatory detector. Performance of a prototype neutron albedo imager will be evaluated when development is complete. Fundamental X-ray modelling studies are expected to lead to a breadboard instrument which will be characterized. TNA testing in late 2001, neutron albedo imager in early 2002 and X-ray imager in late 2002. Contact is Dr

Completed, ongoing and planned test & evaluation projects - Neutralization:

Vegetation clearing equipment: Trials to determine how best to adapt equipment used in forestry and mining for the humanitarian role. Successful trials of the BDM-48 brush cutter were completed at CCMAT (2000) and in Thailand (2001). Program is ongoing. Contact is Mr .

Binary explosives: Trials to support development of binary explosives by Canadian industry. To define the capabilities and limitations of off-the-shelf products for application to humanitarian demining and UXO clearance. FIXORÔ , successfully tested at CCMAT and demonstrated in Kosovo, is now commercially available to the demining community. Program completed. Contact is Dr

Mechanical mine surrogates: T&E of mechanical reproduction mines (MRM) which react to pressure like real AP mines were developed and validated at the CCMAT. The MRM are an essential part of test protocol used by the CCMAT for evaluation of mechanical assistance equipment (MAE). During trials of the BDM-48 in Thailand, MRM were compared with live M14 mines. The test protocol using MRM is proposed as a standard for ITEP. Development of the MRM was completed in 2000 and trials of MAE are ongoing. Contacts are Dr and Mr .

Commercial shaped charges: T&E of perforating charges used by the oil industry to determine if economical off-the-shelf commercial products can be used to effectively neutralize mines and UXO. Trial is scheduled for late 2001. Program is ongoing. Contact is Major .

Mechanical assistance equipment (MAE): Trials of two types of flail (1 – chain and ball and 2 – rigid link with hammers) and mine rollers (similar to the Survivable Demining Tractor) to quantify and compare performance under controlled conditions. This is the second series of trials of MAE carried out at CCMAT using standard test lanes and the MRM. Trial scheduled for summer 2002. Contact is Mr .

Completed, ongoing and planned test & evaluation projects - Protection:

Performance of existing personal protective equipment (PPE): T&E to support development of PPE by Canadian industry. Trials at CCMAT to evaluate prototypes and to provide data for design improvement. Successful trials of the Humanitarian Demining Ensemble (HDE) developed by Med-Eng , Ottawa. Program in place for 3 years, funded to 2003. Contact is Dr

Enhanced foot protection system: T&E to support development of improved foot protection by Canadian industry. Trials at CCMAT to evaluate existing equipment (commercially available mine boots), to evaluate prototypes of new equipment and to provide data for design improvements. Program is ongoing. Contacts are Dr and Mr .

Injury mechanisms and assessment criteria: Evaluation of the Frangible Surrogate Leg (FSL) developed at the Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) in Australia. Series of trials to define capabilities of the FSL and relate obtained data to ongoing US studies with cadavers and to injury data from the field. T&E at CCMAT in collaboration with US Army’s Night Vision Laboratory, Fort Belvoir, VA, and DSTO. Latest trial completed in 2000. The FSL and another device, the Mechanical Surrogate Leg, are used to evaluate enhanced foot protection systems. Contacts are Dr and Mr

Test methods and standards: The CCMAT and the US Army’s Night Vision Laboratory collaborated to develop and validate a test protocol for upper body protection. The test method involves instrumented manikins of the type used by the automotive industry attached to a test rig which allows the dummies to react to blast in a realistic manner. In 2000, the test protocol was used in the US for a trials of 5 sets of PPE manufactured by different companies. This test protocol is proposed as a standard for ITEP. Program completed 2000. Contacts are Dr and Mr

Effect of body position on severity of blast injuries: An ongoing series of trial to map the effect of body position and size on the resulting head and chest accelerations. These trials will provide a database which will support development of better demining equipment and procedures. Program is ongoing. Contact is Dr

Human factors: Study of the effect of PPE and body position on user comfort and ability to perform specific demining tasks. Information is required for the design of balanced PPE. Trials are proposed at the CCMAT and up to three Mine Action Centres. Scheduled to start in 2001. Scoping study completed, awaiting allocation of funds. Contact is Dr .

Completed, ongoing and planned test & evaluation projects - Enabling technologies:

Simplified tele-operation and affordable navigation systems: Technology demonstrators are used to investigate the potential of robotics for specific demining tasks. Tele-operation and navigation systems developed for the military will be simplified and made less expensive. A technology demonstrator called the Articulated Robotic Scanner is being evaluated at the CCMAT. Program in place for 3 year and funded until 2003. Contact is Dr .


The CCMAT is co-located with DRES on the Canadian Forces Base Suffield in Southern Alberta. The CCMAT has 5 full-time staff (including the Director and program manager) and shares the time of scientists, engineers and technologists from the DRES military countermine program. The CCMAT receives administrative and other support from DRES and CFB Suffield.

The association with DRES has also provided access to a network of contractors experienced in technologies directly related to the CCMAT program. A large part of the T&E programs is carried out through contractors who have access to test facilities at Suffield. Local contractors (Medicine Hat) maintain a strong presence on site and are available to support collaborative activities such as those envisaged under ITEP.

Low precipitation levels in Southern Alberta and the availability of heated buildings at each test site ensure that T&E can continue almost year round.

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