New Technologies Enabling Safer, More Efficient Mine Clearance
In his last report from SHOT Show 2020, which closed its doors in Las Vegas last Friday, US North American Bureau Chief, Marty Kauchak, covers Minelab – a company bringing its technologies to bear on the continuing threat landmines pose to combatants and non-combatants alike on former battlefields. While the company was at the SHOT Show previewing its expanding product line in the adjacent recreational (treasure hunting) sector, it maintains a sharp focus on strengthening its core competencies in military markets.
As the show convened, Minelab’s products were in the hands of military and supporting non-governmental organizations in the US and Australia. One of these is HALO Trust, a non-political, non-religious registered British charity and American non-profit organization which removes debris left behind by war, in particular land mines.
Asked the requirements Minelab is receiving (and meeting) from current and prospective military customers, Debbie Smikoski, Business Development Director for North America, responded “Safety. That is number one. The ultimate goal is for any troops using our detector, will stay unharmed and alive.” The firm offers six products with an array of capabilities, including detecting mines that sometimes contain minimal metal, in applications from solider-operated to vehicle-mounted.
Smikoski also commented on the technology underpinnings Minelab’s products, noting that, as the technology matures, it permits the operator “to hear more and find more”. And maturing it is. One new application, qualifying Minelab as a one-day ‘pop-up’ exhibitor at SHOT Show was Multi-IQ, a simultaneous multi-frequency technology that is “allowing us to take a group of detectors that specialize in one area, and put them into one,” she pointed out. Multi-IQ basically helps the operator separate ‘good’ alloy-based targets from ‘bad’ targets, placing the former in the ‘dig’ category by integrating three inputs: a numerical ranking corresponding to a second input (tone), is assigned to a metallic target. A good target – an object with silver, for instance – would generate a higher tone. A ground penetrating radar is also available in some Minelab products, providing imagery – a third input to inform the operator. Whereas different readings have typically been obtained to date for good targets at different depths and orientations, Multi-IQ raises the operational bar by providing the same, stable reading on both objects.
Minelab’s robust investment in research and development is helping the firm keep pace with the military’s evolving requirements in this sector – “to want more. They are constantly looking to make our product better,” Smikoski added.
Chemring’s proven Ultra Wide-Band Impulse Radar is one example of content used in Minelab products.
Marty Kauchak in Las Vegas for MON