The concept of demining has been around as long as the concept of creating and placing mines. When military forces first introduced landmines to the battlefield, they realised that after the conflict had ended, they would need to remove them. But how has technology changed demining over the years?
One of the early ways to find mines was with the simplest of tools – a metal detector. A Polish officer in World War II was one of the first who had the idea of using a metal detector to pick up on the metal of a mine and therefore start demining processes. Modern mine sweeping suppliers have much more accurate methods as the process of using metal detectors only found one mine for every one thousand false-positives and often vegetation would prevent the ability of the operator to get the detector within 10 – 15 cms of the ground necessitating the need for vegetation cutting first.
Removing the mines
Modern technology has brought new innovative ideas to land release and there are now many more improved ways to do the task.
An example of this is the use of demining robots. These unmanned remotely operated devices are ideal for clearing suspect hazardous areas of vegetation and doing Technical Survey without endangering people and they have the ability to quickly define the pattern and extent of mined areas so that valuable time is not wasted in releasing land.
Protective equipment for people looking to find landmines and other ordnance has also developed. It was in the 1950s when the first prototypes of equipment to help protect demining experts were invented and modern materials have allowed the modern versions to be lighter, easier to work with and offer greater protection for the experts than ever before.
Technology continues to make demining safer and more reliable. The use of drones is an example where there is no danger to operators and the mines can be potentially detected and sometimes detonated remotely. Unmanned vehicles are another great example of how we can remove these dangerous devices with minimal danger to life.