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Additional Information

2. Fort A. P. Hill

 Demolition Site 71A, Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, is an active countermine system development and demonstration test site. The test lanes and areas at Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, are designed to provide benchmarked tests against real mines and simulated mines for different road and soil conditions.

Test Site 71A at Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia.

Test Site 71A at Ft. A.P. Hill

• Ranges and Range Support (71 A)
• 1.5 Km of test track for on & off road conditions for vehicle mounted detectors
• Approximately 500m of test lanes for on & off road vehicle test, areas for handheld detector tests and humanitarian demining equipment tests.
• Equipment and personnel to maintain tracks, lanes, access roads and facilities
• Other ranges available for tactical emplacement of minefields for airborne detectors with no flight restrictions.


Two permanent structures. Each is 20m x 100m, can house one prototype system and has an air-conditioned office for support personnel.

Five Vehicle Lanes

Five Vehicle Lanes

There are five separate vehicle lanes, three constructed with dirt roadbeds and two constructed from gravel/dirt roadbeds. The first 50 meters of each lane are used for sensor calibration. The last 50 meters are dedicated to humanitarian demining testing and contain a mixture of anti-tank and anti-personnel landmines. The center 150 meters contain a wide variety of anti-tank mines that are permanently buried in the roadway and whose position has been surveyed. All lanes are 5 meters in width. Each lane was constructed by first digging out the top 45 cm of earth and then replacing it with Virginia top soil or a quarried mixture of dirt/gravel (75%/25%).

UXO known to be buried at the site

A variety of antitank and antipersonnel landmines are buried at the site. Both simulated mines and real mines are pre-emplaced for mine detection experiments. The real mines do not contain live fuses but contain look-alike fuse casings. The metal mine types include the M-15, TM-46, M-21, and the TM-62M. Low metal mine types include the TMA-5, M-19, VS2.2, VS1.6, PMA-4 and the TM62P. Simulants are used for no metal mine tests.


Topographical and geological description of the demonstration site.

The landscape of Ft. A.P. Hill consists primarily of low hills separated by small stream valleys. Elevations generally decrease from west to east, from a maximum of about 70 meters in the northeastern periphery to approximately 55 meters on the southeastern boundary.

The surface soils are generally sandy in nature. Clay strata may occur in the sandy soils. If present, the clay can impede infiltration and movement of soil moisture after precipitation events.

Site vegetation and climate

The area surrounding the test site at Demolition Site 71A is heavily forested, but the test area itself has been cleared of vegetation except for low grass over the lanes and areas for which testing over grass has been designed.

The climate of Ft. A.P. Hill is humid/temperate. Average annual precipitation is 1015 mm with August usually being the wettest month (mean August precipitation is 122 mm) and February the driest month (mean February precipitation is 64 mm). On the average, the Ft. A.P. Hill area experiences 135 days per year with measurable precipitation and 5 days per year with 25 mm or more snowfall. Annual average evaporation is approximately 1120 mm. July, the warmest month, has a mean temperature of 31.7 degrees Celsius. The coldest month, usually January, averages 7.8 degrees Celsius. Typically, the temperature drops below freezing about 75 days during the year. Diurnal changes in the temperatures are maximum in the fall and spring months and may reach 18 degrees. The Ft. A. P. Hill area [averages] about 2500 hours of sunshine per year. July is the sunniest month (280 hours) and January, the cloudiest, averaging 140 hours of sunshine. (Waterways Experiment Station, Technical Report GL-98-16, August 1998.)


Equipment / instrumentation and data available for use at the site

The Countermine Test Management (CTEMS) provides real time scoring software for field measurements of vehicle mine detection systems. CTEMS helps test engineers collect, manage, and analyze field test data.

There are six fiducials mounted on cement footers that have absolute position accuracy to the nearest millimeter. The forest surrounding the mine lanes has been trimmed back to provide continuous access to the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite during data runs. All mines were surveyed during placement.

Permanent monitors exist to measure air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, solar radiance, relative humidity, soil moisture, and soil temperatures to a depth of one to four inches. A standard meteorological station is stationed at the site with data being regularly downloaded and stored for ongoing analysis.

Normal users of the site

Many users have access to the site, both for government testing and public testing and demonstration of equipment. A typical user would be a system developer with a fielded system ready for operational testing.

  • c power
  • Commercial phone
  • Access to NVESD LAN
  • Outdoor latrines
  • No water
  • Instrumentation - MET, survey
  • Facility is located in impact area behind gated roads
  • AP Hill Range Control limits access to NVESD Facility
  • Explosive Storage - Located 11 miles from ASP
  • On-site expertise
  • EMT
  • 2 Demolition technicians

Security considerations to be addressed in planning use of the site

No access to or from 71A proper is permitted without being escorted by and under the supervision by onsite personnel.

Operation and maintenance of the site is under the Night Vision Electronic Sensing Directorate, CECOM, Ft. Belvoir, VA

Site specific issues.

Ordnance is stored at the site as well as a supply of surrogates and simulants.

Safety protocols are in place and each user of the site is required to familiarize themselves with them once a year.

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