OT: Drones to clear mine fields

Low flying drones that could find mines in a minefield would seem an obvious technology. Just marking them for later disposal would be a good beginning. Better would be a drone that could detonate them clearing the mine field.

Is that equipment available? Who makes them?

A Google search turns up this one: https://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/422614-clearing-landmines-with-the-help-of-drones

And a Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/to-clear-deadly-land-mines-science-turns-to-drones-and-machine-learning/


One faster way was to use a heavy armored vehicle pushing a large roller with chains attached to the roller. As it rolled over, the chains would flail out in front and hit the ground in all directions, setting off many/most (?) mines encountered.

1 Like

That’s fine for clearing a path for tanks and troops to follow, but for clearing minefields (so they aren’t cleared later by goats and children) you need a more comprehensive approach, even if slower. I don’t know how “drones” would do it, but if it somehow worked it would be preferable to the systems we’ve used up to now. Which is to say “not doing anything”.

1 Like

The only successful way I know of is flailing chains on an armored vehicle, maybe remotely controlled… And even that has to be in open areas, but forested, or urban… A nasty problem…

How about a helo dragging chains or chain link fence


Recall that we now have ground penetrating radar that has been used to find buried bodies. Could it be adapted to find land mines. Marking them with say paint should be easy.

And recall these things contain explosives. How about shooting them with a detonator–making them explode from a distance.

I suspect drones would be faster than covering a field with a roller. Could cover a wide variety of terrains. And with minimal risk to personnel.


You don’t need to find all the mines, you just need cleared paths through the mine field. Teams could come back later and clear all the mines…doc

1 Like

I would say NOT. The ground-penetrating radar device is rolled over the spot (BOOM !!!)… Which is why small trained animals (under 1 lb) have been trained to find them. They are too light to set it off.

Modern electronics may very well make ground penetration radar light weight and improve range. (This was definitely achieved with radar during WWII.)

1 Like

One way to do it would be with the cluster munitions that are in the news currently: blanket a suspected mine field with cluster bombs, so the concussion of the detonations will detonate the mines. I would paint the cluster bombs a bright color first, so the dud bombs can be easily seen.

During the war, a device based on the Hedgehog ASW weapon was adopted for clearing mine fields. The “Hedgerow” used a round similar to the Hedgehog, except the detonator was on the end of a long nose on the bomb, so that the charge would detonate a couple feet above ground, so the concussion wave would be more effective.



I’m envisioning a “master drone” hovering at 300 m, with multiple, specialized sensors, and AI trained specifically for landmine detection.
A support cloud/swarm of smaller, more expendable drones would do whatever close up work the AI directs.

Sensors might include: metal, micro topography, heat, density, visual clues, and others.
This seems an ideal use for AI?



An AHC show on land mines told me land mines fall in two basic categories: tank stoppers and antipersonnel mines. They are different sizes and materials, of course. An antitank mine will almost always have metal and will take at least 50 lbs of force to detonate. (Sometimes up to 500, so they’re not set off by animals.) Those should be easy to find, even just a remote controlled toy tank with a magnetic loop could spot those, paint the spot, and move on.

Antipersonnel mines would be harder, sometimes are made of plastic, and require only a few pounds of pressure to detonate. Don’t know what the trick would be there, except to contract with iRobot to make a bunch of heavy Roombas and let them bounce around a minefield until they detonated, one by one. Would certainly be a continuing revenue stream for iRobot.

iRobot to make a bunch of heavy Roombas and let them bounce around a minefield until they detonated

But Roombas are likely to be destroyed. Aerial device can avoid the explosion.

The explosive charge in the land mine should be detectable with modern technology. And should explode when hit with something like a blasting cap in a projectile, eg bullet.

Ukraine has mine clearing line charges (MCLC) that shoot a line of explosives to clear a path in a mine field. There are claims that Ukraine has both US and captured Russian MCLCs. Here’s a video


Oh my, forget AK47s and imitators, I WANT an MCLC as my constitutional right! And I know just the street filled with idiots and heathens to deploy it down to “clear my way” to heaven!

david fb
(kidding, well duh…)