A French-owned British-based defence company this week accused the UK Government of refusing to fund the development of the kind of mine detector the late Diana, Princess of Wales had said was essential to detect the most dangerous types of plastic land mine.
Mike Greenwood, marketing director of Thomson Thorn Missile Electronics, said: ‘Why haven’t we got a hand-held detector for plastic mines? The UK is not paying industry to develop one, either from humanitarian funding or from the MoD.’
Greenwood said his company was starting development of a hand-held detector ‘which can be used against all mine types, including plastic mines, using mine detection sensors like passive radio frequency detectors, active ground penetrating radar and magnetic detectors’.
Greenwood said Thomson Thorn had asked the MoD for funding, but it was the French defence ministry which was putting money in. The company is using its own money for the balance of the research and development costs.
Development of the new system started about a year ago. The emphasis of the work is now at the company’s Malakoff site in Paris.