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Author Topic: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?  (Read 6176 times)

Offline thedoc

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Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« on: 29/09/2015 16:42:09 »
Paul asked the Naked Scientists:

   

Could a drone be used to detect landmines, either by detecting soil disturbance or metal detection, or would it be possible with a helicopter drone to direct concentrated pulses of sound, simulating steps of a human over an area? The idea being that any landmines would harmlessly explode. I expect the response to be that it is not possible to direct sound like a laser because of the nature of sound spreading out and dissipating. I have just been listening to a BBC interview with someone who lost his legs as the result of a landmine.



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 29/09/2015 16:42:09 by _system »


 

Offline syhprum

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #1 on: 16/01/2015 17:01:43 »
Anti personal land mines are designed to be as near invisible as possible, the best solution I know is to get herds of sheep or some similar animal roaming the area but unfortunately the "animals" are often children.
Stalin's generals used to use prisoners of war or criminal battalions but these methods are frowned on today
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #2 on: 16/01/2015 17:33:37 »
bombing minefields or bombarding them with artillery can also be effective, but expensive.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #3 on: 16/01/2015 18:02:41 »
Landmines are a double menace, not only to an invader but also longterm to the eventual victor. On the other hand they are a very useful unmanned defence in the short term. So how about a biodegradable landmine? 
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #4 on: 16/01/2015 18:15:14 »
Landmines are a double menace, not only to an invader but also longterm to the eventual victor. On the other hand they are a very useful unmanned defence in the short term. So how about a biodegradable landmine?

That sounds difficult to engineer, possibly easier to design a mine to self destruct after a certain period of time (a small biodegradable fuse or something of that sort could allow for a months to years timescale required for warfare)

The only bio-degradable explosive charge I can think of would be something along the lines of ammonium nitrate combined with vegetable oil or biodiesel. There are some bacteria that consume nitroarenes (like TNT) but I don't think that's something that can be depended on...
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #5 on: 17/01/2015 04:46:40 »
Keep in mind that whatever method you use, it should be 100% effective.

The downdraft from a chopper may not be enough to activate the mine.  Then one would hope the chopper itself wouldn't sustain too much damage.  Plus, helicopters are expensive to fly.

I'm seeing notes of remote controlled dozers and other equipment for de-mining.  One could proabably program them to do a GPS controlled grid pattern over the entire mine field.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #6 on: 17/01/2015 09:11:51 »
I expect the response to be that it is not possible to direct sound like a laser because of the nature of sound spreading out and dissipating.


Not entirely impossible - we use focussed ultrasound for medical imaging and treatment, and sonic weapons and aircraft detectors turn up from time to time. However I think the most effective treatment for a large, uninhabited area would be the sonic pulse from a fuel-air bomb - cheap, reliable, and with a lot of available energy. If this can be ignited in a controlled burn it might be possible to drive the pressure wave preferentially downwards.

In an inhabited area, the remote-controlled bulldozer sounds preferable, either using GPS or a simple drive-by-wire controller.

Helicopter downwash can indeed trigger some antipersonnel mines and the use of large choppers is best avoided.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #7 on: 17/01/2015 18:52:18 »
Robot stompers are what's needed, ones which can be guaranteed to jump up and down on every square inch of ground.
 

Offline domkarr

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #8 on: 22/02/2015 00:17:48 »
The last I heard the americans had a satellite capable of detecting metal to within twenty meter under the earths surface.
A very expensive satellite that costs a lot to fire up.

Still It would be a matter of keeping the weight under the allowance for the craft.

Drones are mainly used as surveillance craft due to the weight allowance, they don't weigh very much and therefore cannot carry much weight with them. also I believe they spend a lot of time gliding in order to expand their distance per tank of fuel.
Adding a geological device capable of penetrating the earths surface may be too much weight and endanger the craft unless a lot of time was spent miniaturising the device. Or alternatively using a much larger drone?
 

Offline domkarr

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #9 on: 22/02/2015 00:21:15 »
what about a machine that carries a powerful electro-magnet to suck them straight up from the ground? or a machine that is designed as an impenetrable ball that can safely roll over a mine field?
 

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Re: Could a drone be used to detect landmines?
« Reply #9 on: 22/02/2015 00:21:15 »

 

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