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Now Available | New Test and Evaluation Protocol on Setting of Animal Detection Systems Testing Sites

Animal Detection Systems (ADS) are a tool that may be used in land release processes to support technical survey (TS) and clearance. As an input to the land release process, ADS require testing in accordance with IMAS 07.12, 07.40 and 07.31, to confirm that they satisfy quality requirements, particularly in terms of their capability to detect explosive ordnance (EO) including, landmines and other target objects that may be specified by authorities, customers and other stakeholders. While ADS is a generic term, the only animals currently in use are dogs and rats. This chapter will cover Mine Detection Dogs (MDD) and Mine Detection Rats (MDR) in the context of mine clearance (including conventional Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)). This chapter recognises that dogs may be used as MDD, Technical Survey Dogs (TSD) or both. Other IMAS chapters which are supportive of the application of this T&EP are IMAS 07.11, 07.30, 08.20, 09.10, 09.40, 09.41 and 09.44.

Establishing and maintaining stakeholder confidence in the reliability of ADS requires that tests of the capability and performance of ADS are rigorous, realistic, reliable and transparent. It is also important that operational tests are designed to reflect expected performance of ADS units in the field and that they are adjusted, as required. Tests are carried out during initial accreditation and periodic reassessments.

Tests should always be conducted in an environment replicating future intended sites for ADS operations, to the greatest extent possible. The nature of ADS testing is such that there may be some aspects of the testing situation that do not exactly replicate operational circumstances and conditions. Nevertheless, testing authorities and agencies should strive to create test conditions that provide the required level of confidence that a successful test result indicates the ADS technical competence to conduct safe ‘live’ land release operations under field conditions.

This chapter provides guidance and advise on the establishment of testing and accreditation sites for ADS operations. The information in this chapter reflects the previous experience of ADS operators in testing and setting up testing sites for MDD, TSD and MDR between 2003-2020.

Constraints of time, cost and efficiency, as well as prevailing security situations, may mean that daily operational testing at task sites in support of day-to-day operations cannot satisfy all the requirements of this chapter, but any such testing should still seek to satisfy similar criteria, so far as possible, to ensure that tests are valid in relation to live operations.

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