Automated UAS aeromagnetic surveys to detect MBRL unexploded ordnance


SUMMARY: Unguided Multiple Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) systems are limited-accuracy, high-impact artillery systems meant to deliver barrages of explosive warheads across a wide area of attack. High rates of failure of MBRL rockets on impact and their wide area of ballistic dispersion result in a long-term unexploded ordnance (UXO) concern across large areas where these systems have been deployed. We field tested a newly-developed UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)-based aeromagnetic platform to remotely detect and identify unexploded 122 mm rockets of the widely-used BM-21 MBRL. We developed an algorithm that allows near real-time analysis, mapping, and interpretations of magnetic datasets in the field and, as a result, rapid identification of anomalies associated with both surfaced and buried MBRL items of UXO. We tested a number of sensor configurations and calibrated the system for optimal signal-to-noise data acquisition over varying site types and in varying environmental conditions. The use of automated surveying allowed us to significantly constrain the search area for UXO removal or in-place destruction. The results of our field trials conclusively demonstrated that implementation of this geophysical system significantly reduces labor and time costs associated with technical assessment of UXO-contaminated sites in post-conflict regions.

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Published: Thursday, October 1, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, October 1, 2020

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