Aerial Detection of Surface Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) in the Mid-and Long-Wave Infrared


  1. Lévesque, J.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
The feasibility of using off-the-shelf broadband thermal IR cameras, (3-5 micron and 8-12 micron) for the aerial detection of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) was investigated. To do so, it was necessary to study the UXO/background thermal behavior to determine the best image acquisition parameters such time of day, altitude, and sky condition. The study was broken down in two phases: (1) target background characterization over two 24 hour periods (clear and cloudy sky) with constant pixel size, and (2) acquisition of airborne images at various altitudes over different background types and at different times of day. Results showed that the highest contrast between target and background was observed in late afternoon and early evening except for fully buried projectiles which showed a higher contrast near the highest sun elevation. A multi-altitude survey provides the best compromise between a large field of view and a high spatial resolution. The sky condition (clear or cloudy) appears to matter for the vegetation background but not for the mud background, although the 8-12 micron camera performs best under a clear sky.
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2010-309 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
15 Jun 2010
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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