Throughout the world, over 100 million landmines must be cleared before humanitarian projects can begin. Many increasingly sophisticated systems have been developed in an attempt to detect landmines, but the gold standard by which all such equipment is measured remains the same: How does this machine compare to the performance capability of a specially trained dog?
That’s a question worth asking. Because the most successful landmine detection programs still incorporate dogs specifically trained for that task.
Metal detectors can return multiple false positives – up to 1,000 “hits” for each landmine actually discovered. Hi-tech explosives detection equipment is more accurate, but the success rate of such equipment depends on whether or not every component of the machine is functioning properly, which is not always a given in harsh environments. Even when it is working properly, hi-tech equipment typically detects only one or two explosive components.
Equipment often needs to be transported, making it more difficult to use in rugged terrain. In many situations such equipment must be transported by troops, adding to the weight a soldier is required to carry, or can only be conveyed by a vehicle.
Hi-tech equipment is very expensive.
The bottom line: You can find more landmines faster at a lower cost with DDSI than you can with landmine detection equipment.