During their present and future worldwide operations the Netherlands Armed Forces will - for at least decades - be confronted by the threat of mines. Although the Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa, 1999) prohibits the use of anti-personnel mines (AP mines), this treaty was not signed by a large number of nations, let alone ratified. Because of the increasing use being made of composites, it is at the same time becoming more difficult to trace mines.

Technology has also become much more advanced in anti-tank mines (AT mines) and sea mines. Mines used to be pressure or contact mines, but nowadays they are increasingly often influence mines, able to identify a target and decide for themselves the exact moment of detonation. This is due to the use of modern and relatively cheap sensors. Another danger is that old mine arsenals are being upgraded, meaning that an oldfashioned exterior may very well hide a highly advanced interior. On behalf of the Netherlands Armed Forces TNO studies mine technology, so that they will be able to deal with the mine threat. In the future the Netherlands Armed Forces are expected to operate more often as an expeditionary force. That is why TNO investigates sea mines.

Research areas

Sea mines react to the electromagnetic signature of ships. TNO develops models designed to reduce this signature. Electromagnetic countermeasures forms another research area including 'silencing' and 'signature balancing'. TNO also works on mine-fighting techniques, such as Target Simulation Mode (TSM) and mine-jamming. Together with the Norwegian research institute FFI models are developed that are able to simulate ship's classes during TSM sweeping operations, in order to detonate sea mines. Mine-jamming is a technique aiming to disorder mine sensors. Much of this research is based on simulations using special software to determine the exact mine threat. Tools and facilities used in this research are TMSS (Total Mine Simulation System), MOSES (Maritime Operations Simulation and Evaluation System) and SFM (Simulation Facility Mines).