Scientists from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), supported by AETC, Inc. of Arlington, VA and Nova Research, Inc. of Alexandria, VA are developing the Multi-sensor Towed Array Detection System (MTADS) to aid DoD facility managers in locating and characterizing buried unexploded ordnance (UXO). MTADS combines advanced magnetometer and electromagnetic induction sensors with Global Positioning System (GPS) location. The development is being supported by the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP).

Although the primary application for the system is detection and classification of UXO, it can also be utilized for situations where the location, depth, and approximate size of underground metallic objects must be determined, such as landfills.

Prior to the development of MTADS, the standard technique used for UXO detection involved hand-held detectors operated by explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians walking slowly across the survey area. This process has long been understood and documented as inefficient and marginally effective.