Currently, methods for detecting unexploded ordnance (UXO) involve laborious ground surveys that are slow, impractical, and cost prohibitive for dealing with vast UXO-contaminated lands. Advanced technologies are required that are quicker, safer, and more cost-effective than current approaches.

The goals of this project are (1) to determine the applicability of low-frequency, ultra-wideband (UWB) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for detecting and discriminating surface and subsurface UXO; (2) to refine and validate electromagnetic models that can be used to extrapolate UWB SAR performance to other environmental conditions (i.e., soils); and (3) to develop detection algorithms for separating regions of UXO contamination from clutter.

Technical Approach

This technology utilizes low-frequency, ultra-wideband (50MHZ - 1200MHZ) SAR. This bandwidth contains low frequencies needed for ground penetration, while maintaining higher-frequency coverage for high-resolution imagery. The Boom-SAR, from heights of up to 150 feet atop a mobile boom platform, is a side-looking groundpenetrating radar which cost-effectively can mimic airborne platforms.


The knowledge gained by this effort will enhance significantly the understanding of the phenomenology of UXO characterization using low-frequency UWB SAR.

In FY 1998, two separate Boom-SAR data collection efforts were conducted at the ground-truthed Yuma Proving Ground UXO test area in Arizona. Processing and analysis of this data occurred in FY 1999. Also in FY 1998, an extensive UXO test site, possessing unique soil and groundwater characteristics, was established at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) (through a collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory) characterized subsurface anomalies at the Eglin AFB test area using AFRL electromagnetic induction sensors. Boom-SAR data has been collected at the Eglin AFB site and will be processed and analyzed in FY 1999-2000.