Airborne hyperspectral imaging has been studied since the late 1980s as a tool to detect minefields for military
countermine operations and for level I clearance for humanitarian demining. Hyperspectral imaging employed on
unmanned ground vehicles may also be used to augment or replace broadband imagers to detect individual mines.
This paper will discuss the ability of different optical wavebands - the visible/near infrared (VNIR), shortwave
infrared (SWIR) and thermal infrared (TIR) - to detect surface-laid and buried mines. The phenomenology that
determines performance in the different bands is discussed. Hyperspectral imagers have usually been designed
and built for general purpose remote sensing applications and often do not meet the requirements of mine
detection. The DRDC mine detection research program has sponsored the development by Itres Research of
VNIR, SWIR and TIR instruments specifically intended for mine detection. The requirements for such imagers
are described, as well as the instruments. Some results of mine detection experiments are presented. To date,
reliable day time detection of surface-laid mines in non-real-time, independent of solar angle, time of day and
season has been demonstrated in the VNIR and SWIR. Real-time analysis, necessary for military applications,
has been demonstrated from low speed ground vehicles and recently from airborne platforms. Reliable, repeatable
detection of buried mines has yet to be demonstrated, although a recently completed TIR hyperspectral imager
will soon be tested for such a capability.