Military Land mine Detection Vehicle
Qsine conceived, design and manufactured this custom, radio controlled vehicle which is used in a system that finds anti-tank land mines.
This projects was the result of a long series of circumstances and it is difficult to say where the story begins. Likewise, the worldwide land mine problem is a very complex topic that, admittedly, we barely understand even after participating in this project. We will however try to present the facts and events that explain why this project exists, how it was done and what was achieved. A page of acronyms is available for reference to help follow the abbreviations in the discussion below.
- There are millions of active land mines in the world.
- While there are many types, land mines fall into two basic categories:
- Anti-personnel: active land mines are estimated in the range from 10's to 100's of millions.
- Anti-Tank: active land mines are estimated in the 10's of millions.
- DND Canada undertook a research project to deploy land mine sensing technology that was producing positive results in a laboratory environment.
- The project targeted a very specific subset of land mines and applications:
- While it has to survive anti-personnel blasts, the system is meant to detect anti-tank land mines only.
- The primary purpose is to clear roadways and transportation lanes to restore supply lines. Factors specific to mine fields were out of the scope of this project.
- The system is intended for times of declared peace or cease-fire. It is not meant to find mines during battle conditions.
- Because it is meant for cease-fire conditions, land mines are marked only and not detonated. Explosions can cause battles to resume. Excavation of the marked mines occurs after the system has completed it's work
- Since the system does not detonate mines, it must be able to drive over top of them and perform all sensing and marking without triggering an explosion. Anti-tank varieties do not have hair triggers like anti-personnel mines; as long as the ground pressures are light enough, pressure activated mines do not trigger.
- The main concern is triggering "smart" mines, which are bombs with sensors and microprocessors on board. The primary focus of the system is to find plastic "smart" mines, which are much harder to detect than metal cased mines.
- The primary goal of the project is to ascertain if the sensing technology is reliable and accurate enough to be used in future missions.
- The project had 2 stages:
- First, was the proof of concept stage called ILDP
- Second, if ILDP proved successful, was the production stage called ILDS
- Researcher's at DRES were responsible for the ILDP stage of the project and they specified the sensing technology for the project based on laboratory experiments and testing.
- General Dynamics Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada) were basically passive managers during the ILDP stage with the intention of becoming the project managers for the ILDS stage.
- Researchers in the VCG at DRES were tasked with delivering a design and a physical vehicle that would carry the sensors and related equipment for ILDP and find a suitable manufacturer for the production vehicles in ILDS.
- Qsine had established a very strong working relationship with people in the VCG from prior projects and work that was in progress when this project was initiated.
- The VCG specified the vehicle and contracted Qsine to design and manufacture it for the first stage ILDP.
- The ILDP vehicle was an 8 wheel, skid steer vehicle.
- ILDP successfully demonstrated a working system and identified weakness that needed to be addressed before the second stage, ILDS, could proceed.
- One of the weakness's was mobility performance of the 8 wheeled vehicle on certain terrain.
- Another weakness was that DND did not like the trailer used in ILDP.
- The vehicle pictured above was conceived by Qsine between the ILDP and ILDS stages to address the weakness we saw in ILDP
- The new vehicle concept added risk to the project as it did not have a proof of concept stage to identify and correct weaknesses.
- DND chose to proceed with Qsine's 4x4 and ILDS
- Qsine designed then manufactured four vehicles under contract to General Dynamics Canada.
- As of this writing (December 2006) the system is gathering field test data in Afghanistan.