Method of Locating Unexploded Ordnance

Period of Performance: 08/19/2010 - 08/19/2011


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ARES Systems Group
1619 Walnut Street
Vicksburg, MS 39180
Principal Investigator


UARS (Unexploded ordnance Asset RFID System) is a secure, active radio frequency identification (RFID) system that when equipped to munitions provides a method for underground geolocation in the event that munitions do not explode. Additionally UARS provides a method for authenticated wireless inventory of munitions in storage. UARS is comprised of rugged, long-life, queriable RFID tags that are adhered to the outside of ordnance, such as the Mk82 500lb. bomb, forward of the tail kit. The system s reader can be mounted on a UAV, carried on the ground by explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel or unmanned vehicle/robot, or be used cooperatively in the ground and onboard air assets via a built in long-range wireless mesh network. UARS utilizes modern RF technology that is proven to work while buried underground and is specifically tuned to provide a safe stand-off range to EOD personnel. Phase II of the UARS program aims to produce MIL-STD certified external tags for munitions tracking that are commercially ready for DoD adoption. Based on extensive modeling and simulation in Phase I, ARES believes UARS will provide a superior RF performance, the lowest design risk, and delivery schedule that quickly equips EOD personnel with this cost saving technology. BENEFIT: Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearing continues to pose an expensive and dangerous proposition for U.S. and Allied forces, civilian populations, and environmental cleanup efforts around the world. While the EPA estimates that UXO cleanup in the U.S. will cost roughly $14 billion overall, a single recent cleanup operation on Kaho''olawe Island Hawaii cost the Navy $330M. For the same estimated cost of the Kaho olawe cleanup, the U.S. government could switch to UARS based technology and tag every single air dropped munition for the next 50 years while reducing lost lives and injuries. Opportunity cost savings at ranges equipped with UARS could amount to as much as $120,000 per day. The commercialization of UARS technology will not only impact CONUS test-range operations, but will also benefit overseas soldiers advancing across pre-bombed battlefields, reducing the time to clear the field and the risk to coalition soldiers. Additionally, the specific RFID tags being designed for UARS possess additional characteristics that make them an ideal candidate for future government tagging technology. Their secure authentication protocol, long battery life, and long above-ground range makes them ideal for add-on equipment inventory applications or locating key assets during disaster recovery operations. An example of this includes quick identification of sensitive assets in buried rubble, such as an embassy bombing or downed aircraft.