Nothing is more important to a maneuver commander than the freedom to operate
wherever he desires on the battlefield. To do this, countermine operations must initially
focus on the Army's ability to detect minefields and mines, alerting the commander to
their presence. The commander may determine to simply avoid, or bypass these areas.
These detection and reporting assets include dismounted, vehicle mounted and aerial
If necessary to continue the mission, the commander may decide to breach the
minefields, or neutralize the mines. To do this requires a robust, survivable and
redundant capability as these actions typically take place under both direct and indirect
fire. It is a difficult challenge in an era of increasingly sophisticated mines, but one that
must be successful as part of the overall mission. Once the minefields are breached, this
information must be rapidly and accurately reported to all follow-on forces in order to
speed their progress into the battle.
To improve the speed with which countermine operations can be conducted, the earliest
possible detection of mines and minefields is needed. Picatinny's response, therefore,
has been to develop standoff mine and minefield detection capabilities. In addition to the
operational advantages incurred, these standoffs provide greater operator protection (by
distance) in case of a mine detonation.
Examples of Countermine Equipment Being Developed and/or Fielded by Picatinny
The Ground Standoff Mine Detection System (GSTAMIDS) is a spiral development
program that will provide the U.S. Army with vehicle-mounted mine detection
capabilities in successive blocks. Each block combines the best available technologies
for mine detection, confirmation and neutralization in order to support Army countermine
operations in the 21st century. In GSTAMIDS Block 0, the primary mission is mine
detection and marking in support of route clearance operations during stability and
support operations. Block 1 is the next generation vehicle-mounted mine detection and
clearance capability that integrates advanced countermine capabilities to detect, mark,
clear and neutralize all types of mines. Block 2 is expected to be fielded in FY14 and
will employ forward-looking mine detection and avoidance capabilities that will be
available for use or attachment on a variety of military vehicles.
The Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle (MPCV) is a blast-resistant vehicle designed to
protect soldiers from mine blasts during route clearance operations. It will be the
command and control vehicle for the detection vehicle in the GSTAMIDS program.
The Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS) is an innovative,
handheld, landmine detector designed to enable soldiers to quickly and accurately detect
all types of metallic and non-metallic antitank and antipersonnel mines. The system fuses
together two sensor technologies, ground-penetrating radar and metal detection, which
enable HSTAMIDS to pick up mines'
low metal content and distinguish nails, shrapnel,
and other clutter that often lead to false alarms. The result is a greatly improved system
that protects the soldier and enhances his ability to detect landmines.
The Airborne Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) integrates multiple sensors
for airborne detection of minefields in a two-block program. The Block 0 program
provides a standoff capability of detecting surface, or recently buried minefields. The
Block 1 program adds the ability to detect weathered-in minefields. Both employ
automatic target recognition algorithms to analyze sensor and image data. The
ASTAMIDS sensor package is being developed as a mission module for the Army's
Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
The Antipersonnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) is used to conduct deliberate
or hasty breaches through enemy antipersonnel minefields and multi-strand wire obstacle.
It is light enough to be carried by two soldiers with backpacks and can be deployed
within 30 to 120 seconds. Once set in place, the APOBS rocket is fired from a 35-meter
standoff position, sending the line of charge with fragmentation grenades over the
minefield and/or wire obstacle. The Grenades neutralize, or clear the mines and sever the
wire, effectively clearing a footpath up to 45 meters in length for the troops. It is the
lighter, more mission-capable successor to the World War II vintage Bangalore torpedo.
The Mongoose Explosive Standoff Minefield Clearer (ESMC) is a rocket-deployed
array of countermine shaped charges. These charges are evenly dispersed throughout an
Explosive Neutralization System (ENS). The net-like device is comprised of nylon
strapping, a detonation cord and the charges themselves. The trailer-mounted system
launches the ENS over the top of the host vehicle. Lead and tether lines provide the
capability to launch the system from a standoff position beyond the explosive threat of
the minefield. When deployed, the ENS expands laterally and longitudinally, and is
placed, fully opened, across the minefield. The system is then command detonated from
within the host vehicle. Mongoose ESMC defeats, to a 95 percent surety, all mines
beneath the deployed ENS and provides a cleared lane for the passage of mounted troops.