U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate

To Walk the Earth in Safety: The U.S. Commitment to Humanitarian Mine Action
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
August 2004

Logo: U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors DirectorateThe U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate executes the Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) Program with funding and oversight from the Department of Defense. The Program develops, tests, demonstrates and validates various technologies that increase the efficiency and enhance the overall safety of humanitarian demining operations. This is accomplished through the adaptation of commercial off-the-shelf equipment, the application of mature technologies and leveraging current technology developments from the U.S. Army's Countermine mission area. The Program's primary goal is to field as many prototype technologies as possible for the demining community's use in the global landmine crisis.

The Mine Clearing Cultivator, deployed to Angola in 2003, is a remote-controlled system able to clear anti-vehicle and large anti-personnel landmines without leaving behind mine-laden berms normally associated with large mechanical mine-clearing systems.  (Photo courtesy of NVESD)Every year, the HD R&D Program invites representatives from international mine action centers and NGOs to its requirements workshop. Based on the needs identified, and on ensuing in-country site assessments, decisions are made regarding the next year's developmental efforts, followed by design and development of prototype technologies. All prototype technologies undergo extensive testing to ensure design requirements are met and the equipment is ready for use.

The real test of a system is an operational field evaluation in a host nation, because the equipment undergoes testing in minefields. The evaluation allows the host country to operate the equipment and determine if the prototype is useful, suitable, cost-effective and efficient. This process is extremely beneficial to all participants. The Humanitarian Demining R&D Program acquires invaluable feedback, experience and knowledge that enable it to be a more productive technology development entity. The host nation has the potential to increase the safety of deminers and to improve the efficiency of demining operations by evaluating and using the prototype equipment.

Point of Contact: Sean Burke
Department of the Army
10221 Burbeck Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 22060
Telephone: 703-704-1047
FAX: 703-704-3001
Email: sean.burke@nvl.army.mil
Web site: www.humanitarian-demining.org