2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Initiated in 1994, the Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) Program delivers the latest technology solutions to the most challenging landmine and UXO detection and clearance efforts, with emphasis on improving technologies for mine/UXO detection and mechanical mine/UXO and vegetation clearance. The program is specifically tasked with the rapid development, testing, demonstration, and validation of internationally shareable technologies that increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of humanitarian demining operations. Such technologies operate in high-risk areas where manual clearance or mine detection dogs are deemed impractical, and without which operations partners would be unable to complete and release sites.

New technology requirements are established and verified at a biennial requirements workshop held by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict. All prototypes are required to undergo extensive testing in the U.S. before being deployed to support operational field evaluations (OFE), an integral aspect of the HD R&D Program. During OFEs, host-nation demining partners (foreign militaries, NGOs, and mine action centers) evaluate equipment capabilities in authentic demining situations. These evaluations allow host countries to operate and test equipment in active minefields and provide feedback for future R&D enhancements.

In FY2014, the HD R&D Program’s technologies cleared 4.1 million square meters (approx. 1,000 acres) of the world’s toughest minefields, removing or destroying 7,378 mines and 22,970 items of UXO. To date, its technologies have cleared 26 million square meters (approx. 6,400 acres) and removed or destroyed 133,000 mines and pieces of UXO. Since 1995, the program has fielded technologies in support of 172 OFEs in 37 countries. In FY2014, HD R&D performed OFEs in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some of the 50 technologies under evaluation include the Badger Multi-Tooled Excavator, Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System, Minehound, Orbit Screen, Rotary Mine Comb, and Scout and Scorpion UXO Detection Systems.

Date: 2015 Description: The HD R&D program and HALO received promising results in a trial of the Mine Stalker low metal anti-tank mine detection system in Angola in August 2014.  © Photo courtesy of Rhys Mansel /HALO.

Point of Contact:
Sean Burke, Program Manager
10221 Burbeck Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060

telephone: +1 703 704 1047
fax: +1 703 704 3001
email: sean.p.burke@us.army.mil
website: http://humanitarian-demining.org