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European Commission European Commission

Joint Research Centre, Ispra

Address: Joint Research Centre, Via Enrico Fermi, I -21020 Ispra (VA)
Country: Italy
Nearest big towns: Varese (25 km); Milan (80 km)

Point of contact:

Name: Tom Bloodworth
Organization: JRC
Function: Test manager
Phone / Fax:  +39 0332 78 9131 / 5469

General Information

Indoor test area (m2): 600
Outdoor test area (m2): 5000

Particular constraints:

Working hours: Normal 07:00 to 20:00. Authorization required for night working
Remarks: Authorization to be requested 7 days in advance
Entrance requirements: European Union nationals: 2 days notice.

Others: 15 days notice.



Mechanical workshop: Yes
Remarks:  JRC is a large research centre, so there are a lot of support facilities available; including laboratory instruments, tools, workshops, cranes
Explosive allowed: Yes; see individual facilities. Fragmentation: no
Remarks:  At present there are no facilities allowing detonation of live mines by, for example mechanical clearance equipment.
Services supplied:




Compressed air






Canteen: Yes
Distance (km): Hotel: 2km (Ispra village)
Railway station: 1km (Ispra) or 10km (Sesto Calende - more frequent)
Airport: 30 km (Milan Malpensa)

List of testing facilities available:

The C.F. Gauss Non Metallic Laboratory

The Outdoor Test Facility

The European Microwave Signature Laboratory (EMSL)

The European Goniometric Facility (EGO)

We have a large number of targets for mine detection testing and evaluation.

  • "Surrogate" mines (SUMs): production mines with explosive removed (Type 3A), or with an inert explosive substitute (3B), also reproduction mines containing air (4A) or an inert substitute (4B).
  • "Simulant" mines (SIMs): free from explosive (Type 6).
  • Calibration targets (Type 8).

Completed, ongoing and planned test & evaluation projects:

  • Multi-Sensor Mine Signature project to create a database of the signatures of mine-like targets given by various sensors (infra-red, radar, metal detectors and microwave radiometer).
  • "International Pilot Project for Technology Co-operation (IPPTC)"; a comparative study of the performance of off the shelf metal detectors. Final Report EUR 19719 EN.
  • Metal detector trials for the UN in the field in Afghanistan.
  • Measurements of the characteristics of mine detector differential coil configurations in response to concerns expressed by a demining organization. "PROM 1 anti-personnel landmines. Possibility of activation by physical contact with a metal detector", ISIS Technical note No. SPI.01.29. March 2001.
  • International collaboration project to make an inventory of the capabilities for test and evaluation in Southeast Europe, working towards establishing a network of T&E capabilities and standards for demining T&E.
  • Testing of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) sensors using the outdoor mine-test lane.
  • Use of the mine test lane to evaluate multi-sensor techniques.


There are about 25 highly-qualified scientists and engineers working on different aspects of humanitarian demining at JRC. As well as scientific and technical skills, many of these people have a good understanding of the practical aspects of demining and the needs of the demining community. The facilities at Ispra are suitable for the evaluation of sensors and sensing techniques. Prototype or commercial mine-detection equipment can be tested in controlled conditions in the Gauss lab and outdoor test lane. Evaluation of standards and procedures can also be made.

The EMSL and EGO are well-suited to fundamental tests of the physical responses of targets to microwave, infrared or optical mine-detection techniques. Laboratory instruments will be more appropriate for making these measurements in most cases, rather than equipment for use in the field. In some cases however, the high degree of control offered by these facilities offers advantages for testing even field equipment that is in use with the demining community.

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