2017 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program
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 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. Without these technologies, operations partners would be unable to complete and release sites. Host-nation demining partners (foreign militaries, nongovernmental organizations, and mine action centers) test and operate equipment in active minefields and provide feedback for future R&D enhancements.
In 2016, the HD R&D Program’s technologies cleared 6.9 million square meters (approximately 1,714 acres) of the world’s toughest minefields, removing or destroying 11,300 mines and items of UXO. Notably, the HD R&D Program participated in the launch meeting of the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia, completed a technology test in-country and is committed to sending demining technology to Colombia in 2017.
To date, the HD R&D Program’s technologies have cleared 40.2 million square meters (approximately 8,450 acres) and removed or destroyed approximately 175,000 mines and pieces of UXO. Since 1995, the program has fielded technologies in support of 199 operational field evaluations in 38 countries and the Palestinian Territories. In 2016, HD R&D performed testing and operational field evaluations in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.