Australian Company Uses World-First Technology to Tackle Global War Legacy

An Australian company is helping to find unexploded mines in places such as Germany, the UK and Laos using its ground-breaking technology.

 Gap Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) is using its unique technology, originally created for the resources sector, to now find unexploded bombs left over from both World Wars and the Vietnam War that are hidden underground and underwater.

 Gap EOD Director, Dr Stephen Billings said they have developed and refined the technology over the past seven years and are one of the only companies in the world capable of finding these dangerous remnants of war to the depths required to make the areas completely safe for industrial, commercial and residential use.

 “Gap EOD is the only company in the world with the technology capable of deep underwater detection of sophisticated aluminium sea-mines,” said Dr Billings.

 “We were called in recently to sweep Portsmouth Harbour in the UK because of concerns an unexploded German sea-mine from World War II might be encountered during dredging work, potentially sinking the dredging vessels and killing the workers”.

 “We found a large unexploded German bomb, resulting in the Harbour’s immediate closure and controlled detonation of the weapon,” he said.

 “Most people don’t realise it, but unexploded bombs are still there, buried under the ground or the sea.”

 “They’re all over the world and pose a high risk of detonation, especially when the land is being re-used for commercial or residential developments.”

 “Using our UltraTEM system, which uses sensors to detect buried metal, we can scan up to 3.5 metres in depth”.

 “It’s a faster, deeper technique that completely re-defines traditional exploration and tracing methods”.

 “Unexploded ordnance are one of the most challenging environmental issues of our time, with more than 83 countries around the world being in possession of contaminated ground.” 

 Since 2014, Gap EOD has been involved in sweeps in and around Berlin, Germany for WWII aircraft bombs prior to the commencement of residential and industrial works. This was after construction workers had been killed after accidentally detonating unexploded bombs in recent years.

 A number of large US bombs with dangerous chemical-delayed fuses have been found.

 The team has also been commissioned to sweep for projectiles along the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos, where a staggering 80 million cluster munitions are believed to remain in Laos alone as a legacy of the Vietnam War. Numerous unexploded US bombs have been uncovered.

 “What makes us unique is that we’ve been able to blend our expertise in minerals exploration with a comprehensive understanding of the science behind detecting buried metal in challenging environments,” said Stephen.

 “This means when clients come to us with their unique scenarios, we’re able to develop effective solutions that involve equipment customisation.”

 “Thanks to our experience working in hot, humid and remote locations in Australia, we’ve developed very robust, reliable equipment that can withstand the rigors of operating under difficult conditions, or that can be packaged and deployed underwater for marine applications.”

  “Our future plans are to start making our technologies available in areas that have suffered recent conflicts, such as the Middle East, Africa and the Indian sub-continent.”

 About Dr Stephen Billings and Gap EOD

 Dr Stephen Billings is Director of Gap Explosive Ordnance Detection (Gap EOD), part of the Gap GEO group. Gap EOD specialises in the detection of explosive ordnance and other near-surface targets that require high accuracy and high fidelity results. Gap EOD was established as a joint venture between Gap Geophysics and Bridgewater Geophysics in 2013.

Australian Company Uses World-First Technology to Tackle Global War Legacy

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Australian Company Uses World-First Technology to Tackle Global War Legacy
BDC August 2022 issue - 295

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