AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector

Schiebel Corporation of Austria manufactures the U.S. Army's currently fielded metal detector. Schiebel refers to the detector as the AN-19/2 while the U. S. Army uses the designation AN/PSS-12. The AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector (AN - 19/2) is the standard mine detector for the U.S. Army. It is designed to detect mines with very small proportions of metal content above ground and beneath the surface of fresh or salt water. Due to its compact, lightweight frame, the detector is ideal for fast and accurate terrain reconnaissance. The main technical features of the detector include: Excellent discrimination independent of ambient temperature and battery condition; Sensitivity independent of search head speed; Low mutual interference between two detectors; Simple discrimination control; and Built-in test circuit that automatically checks function and battery condition.

As the metal content of land mines has gone down (replaced by plastic) the need for a mine detecting set that's very sensitive has developed. The PSS-11 was designed to be very sensitive in it's day . It was replaced in the early 1990's by the PSS-12, which is the current issue mine detector set. The goal is to detect a very small metalic firing pin in an otherwise non-metalic land mine.

Because of its compact, lightweight design and the low mutual interference between two detectors, the mission suitability of the AN/PSS-12 for fast and accurate terrain reconnaissance is ideal. The equipment will also detect mines at limited depth in fresh or salt water. The excellent discrimination characteristics of the AN/PSS-12, independent of ambient temperature, qualifies the equipment for use in all climates. A rugged, long-life product based on rigorous standards of quality control in the manufacturing process and the use of first-class components.

Metal detectors are frequently described as being either of the pulse induction (PI) or continuous wave (CW) type with the AN/PSS-12 belonging to the former category. The AN/PSS-12 search head uses two concentric coils; the outer is used for transmit and the inner for receive. An electric current driven through the transmitter coil causes a magnetic field to penetrate any metallic object near the search head. When the transmitter current is abruptly extinguished eddy currents are induced into nearby metallic objects in accordance with Faraday's Law of induction. As the eddy currents decay they radiate a secondary or scattered magnetic field that induces a voltage into the receiver coil. This voltage is amplified and is used to detect the presence of a metallic object. The PSS-12 makes a clicking sound while operating rather than silence.

The AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector system comes equipped with an electronics unit, a search head with a telescopic pole, headphone, a carry bag that carries all the parts needed to operate the detector and a transport case. Operators will benefit from the minimal amount of training required to operate the AN/PSS-12 and time to employ it. The trouble-free method of operating this detector involves assembly of the unit, adjustment of sensitivity and headphone volume, and moving the head about one meter per second over the target area.

Type Classified 1991
Produced 15,315 Units
First Unit Equipped 1992
Basis of Issue:
-- 18 Per Engineer Company
-- 12 Per Military Police Company
-- 2-4 Per Battalion
-- All Others
Primary function: Mine Detection.
Manufacturer: Schiebel Instruments, Inc.
Power Supply: Four 1.5 V batteries
Operating Time: 70 hours
Weight: Mine Detector in transport case: 13.7 lbs. (6.2 kilograms)
Mine Detector: 8.5 lbs. (3.8 kg.)
Deployment Method: Hand Held
Materials: The Telescopic pole consists of an inner plastic tube and outer aluminum tube.
Unit Replacement Cost: $1,196

Mission: To locate land mines during minefield breaching, road sweep and follow-on clearance operations.

Features: The AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector is a light weight, hand held, metallic mine detector. It is capable of detecting very small metallic objects such as small firing pins in plastic and wooden mines. The AN/PSS-12 Mine Detector is capable of detecting mines in fresh or salt water, and objects buried up to 20 inches in the ground.

Inventory: 547. Approximately 300 are currently fielded to FMF units and training commands. The majority of these assets are held in the Combat Engineer Battalions, Engineer Support Battalions and Marine Wing Support Squadrons.

Background: The AN/PSS-12 mine detector replaces the PSS-11 Metallic Mine Detector. The PSS-11 had reached its end of service life, and needed to be replaced with state-of-the-art technology. The AN/PSS-12 represents a world-class mine detector capable of detecting small amounts of metal found in modern land mines.

The current U.S. Army inventory for detecting buried land mines consists of the AN/PSS-12 metal detector. A Drop-In Ground Penetration Radar Sensor (DIGS) integrated with the AN/PSS-12 has been proposed as a practical and cost-effective transition to the next generation mine detector. The DIGS is an extremely sensitive device that is capable of detecting small changes in the electrical properties of the ground. DIGS is designed to detect low-metal-content and nonmetallic mines that do not have enough metal to be detected by the AN/PSS-12 metal detector. The extreme sensitivity required to detect low-metal-content and nonmetallic mines often comes at the expense of high false-alarm rates that depend greatly on the local environmental conditions. The effect of the environment on the operation of a DIGS system needs to be investigated to better document the capabilities and the limitations of the DIGS system.

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