RSS feed LinkedIn Watch us on Youtube

Activity title

UAV Applications for Military Search

Activity Reference



Systems Concepts and Integration

Security Classification




Activity type


Start date


End date



CIED, command wire detector, detection, electronics detector, EOIR, GPR, metal detector, Military search, UAS, UAV, vapour detector


Military Search (MS) is defined as the management and application of systematic procedures and appropriate tools to detect and locate specific targets, in support of a military operation. MS was developed by the British troops in their fight against the Irish Republican Army in the seventies, and was adopted by most western armed forces during their involvement in the peace keeping and peace enforcing operations in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan as an capability of their military engineers. The objective of MS can be either offensive or defensive. For offensive MS the objectives are to collect information and material for exploitation, to deprive the resources (such as weapons and explosives) of the adversary and secure material for forensic evidence. Offensive MS can be regarded as an ‘Attack-the-Networks’ C-IED capability. The objective of defensive MS is to protect potential targets: force protection, protection of pre-planned events and protection of critical infrastructure, and can in general be regarded as a ‘Defeat-the-Device’ C-IED capability. In MS several levels can be defined. The lowest level is Basic Search for overall force protection as a basic skill for trained soldiers. Intermediate MS is for situations with no or a low threat of explosive hazards, or when a lower level of assurance is accepted. The highest level, Advanced MS, is meant for situations with a high threat, when only the highest level of assurance is accepted, or when a hazardous environment exists. Advanced MS is conducted by specialists with a special tool set. Although MS is often regarded as a procedure to find weapons and explosive hazards, such as landmines, Improvised Explosive Devices, explosive materials (that can be used of manufacturing IEDs), (Advanced) MS is more and more applied to locate other, non-explosive targets in both military and civil (police, customs, tax authorities) operations. Examples are non-explosive components that are used in IEDs (e.g. electronic remote control units), electronic information carriers (SD-card, USB stick), valuables used by the adversary to finance its operations (money, jewels, drugs), documents (that may contain information of the adversaries network), etc.


The objectives of this TG will be the assessment of the potential, limitations and challenges of the use of UAVs for the detection of targets in Military Search operations. A Cooperative Demonstration of Technology (CDT) in which defence R&D agencies, academia and industry will be invited to participate, can be foreseen as part of the assessment. The findings of the assessment will be documented in a report by the TG.


The Program of Work for the TG will include the following aspects: • Definition of Military Search scenarios, including the targets; • Identification of sensors and platforms to include in the trial; • Establishment of a methodology for the assessment of the performance of the sensors and platforms, and a test plan; • Select and prepare a suitable site for the assessment; • Set-up and conduct the trial; • Analyse the results of the trial and draft the end report of the TG with conclusions on the potential, limitations and challenges of the use of UAV-mounted sensors in Military Search.

Contact Panel Office