Radar and metal detection join forces in new reliable mine-detection system

By John McHale

WALTHAM, Mass. — Experts at CyTerra Corp. in Waltham, Mass., developed a handheld land mine detector for the U.S. Army that combines ground-penetrating radar with metal detection technology, resulting in a low false alarm rate.

Click here to enlarge image

This capability enables soldiers to quickly and accurately detect all types of anti-tank and anti-personnel land mines, company officials say. CyTerra's detector is the result of a U.S. Army-sponsored 15-year research and development effort to find a means for reliably detecting non-metallic, plastic-cased mines.

The company recently received a three-year, $12.3 million contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of its handheld land mine detector.

Officials of the U.S. Army's Project Manager for Mines, Countermine, and Demolitions (PM-MCD), together with those at the Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center at Fort Belvoir, Va., awarded the contract as part of the Handheld Standoff Mine Detection (HSTAMIDS) program.

"CyTerra's system represents a true leap ahead in mine detection technology," says Larry Nee, Chief of the Countermine Division (PM-MCD). "Our goal is to significantly improve the speed and safety of mine clearance operations for U.S soldiers. This contract takes us one step closer to making that happen."

"Existing mine detectors are based on a single technology — metal detection," says David H. Fine, president of CyTerra. "Our system fuses together two sensor technologies — ground-penetrating radar and metal detection. By combining these two complementary methods of detection, we can simultaneously boost the sensitivity of each technology and dramatically reduce the high number of false alarms that are associated with today's land mine detectors."

The biggest design challenge CyTerra engineers faced was making the radar antenna as non-metallic as possible so it would not interfere with the metal detector, Fine says. The antenna is a foam-like composite with just enough metal for the current to flow, he explains.

There were not any tradeoffs in performance with traditional mine detectors because "we took the best from both worlds — radar and metal detection," Fine says. Today's mine detectors are so precise they pick up metal as small as a pinhead, he adds. However, there is so much metal in the ground that false alarm rates can be high, Fine explains.

The radar system acts as a filter to the metal detector by eliminating all the clutter the detector might pick up, he says. For example if the device encounters a mine a foot in diameter, the radar in the system will beep one end of the mine, then beep again at the other end, Fine explains. The system emits a system of audio tones to alert soldiers to the presence of a buried land mine.

In other words the radar "will see any order in the chaos," Fine says.

Based on data collected from testing the detector in a controlled environment for the Army, the CyTerra device's false alarm rate is about five times better than that of current metal detectors, and will be even better once it is deployed, he says. Because of the relatively low false alarm rate soldiers will be able to detect mines not only more quickly, but also more safely than they can today, Fine adds.

Tests at the Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Md., demonstrated a probability of detection near 100 percent overall for CyTerra's detector, company officials say.

MineLab in Australia developed the metal detector for CyTerra, while the radar was a CyTerra custom design, Fine says. The CyTerra detector also uses standard-issue Army batteries that last from eight to 12 hours between charges, Fine says.

The entire system is mostly a custom design; the only commercial-off-the-shelf product is the device's Palomar 2 350 MHz PowerPC single-board computer from SBS Technologies in Albuquerque, N.M., he says. The hardware for the detector was relatively low-cost, with software algorithm work making up the bulk of the development cost, Fine adds.

CyTerra engineers are trying to keep the detector's weight to seven pounds so soldiers can transport and operate the device easily, CyTerra officials say.

The device also had to be rugged enough to work in all environments where mines may be present, Fine says. The Army specified that it be able to fly at 40,000 feet and survive a drop into the field with paratroopers, he adds.

The EMD contract represents the last stage in the Army's development cycle. While several different detection technologies in various stages of development, CyTerra's system is the only dual-sensor, handheld technology being readied for full-scale production and subsequent fielding, CyTerra officials say.

Under the terms of the contract, CyTerra will finalize the detector's design and improve performance during the EMD phase CyTerra officials say. The company will then deliver 22 units to the Army for developmental and operational field testing, company officials say.

For more information on CyTerra contact the company by phone at 781-622-1368, by fax at 781-622-1370, by mail at 85 First Avenue, Waltham, Mass. 02451-1105, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.cyterracorp.com.


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

XPedite5401 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Conduction-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module with Two GbE Ports

The XPedite5401 is a high-performance PrPMC/XMC, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ...

XPm2010 |3U cPCI PICMG 2.11 Power Supply with Integrated MIL-STD-461E

The XPm2010 is a PICMG 2.11 power supply that takes in a MIL-STD-704 28 VDC input voltage and pro...

XChange3018 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3018 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. The XC...

XPand4200 Series | ½ ATR Lightweight Forced-Air-Cooled Chassis for Conduction-Cooled Modules

The XPand4200 Series redefines the limits of power, performance, and functionality in a sub-½ ATR...

XCalibur1603 | Freescale QorIQ Eight-Core P4080 Processor-Based Air-Cooled 6U cPCI SBC

The XCalibur1603 is a high-performance, 6U cPCI, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ...

XPedite5500 | Freescale P2020 QorIQ Conduction- or Air-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module

The XPedite5500 is an XMC/PrPMC mezzanine module targeting the Freescale QorIQ P2020 processor. W...

XPm2020 | 3U VPX Power Supply with Integrated MIL-STD-461E Filtering

The XPm2020 is a VITA 62-compliant 3U VPX power supply that takes in a MIL-STD-704 28 VDC input v...

XChange3019 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with XMC and Optional Managed Switching and Routing Support

The XChange3019 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. It pro...

XPand4206 | Rugged Intel® Core™ i7-Based Multiprocessor COTS System with 10 Gigabit Ethernet Fabric

The XPand4206 is a high-performance computing and networking platform for environmentally demandi...

Related Companies

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...

MERITEC

Signal integrity leaders and preferred vertically integrated manufacturer of high-performance electrical and electron...

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...

Advanced Conversion Technology Inc

ACT designs and manufactures, since 1981, an extensive range of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies (switching, linear, ra...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE