Sandia Designs UAV to Monitor Nuclear Test Explosions

Sandia National Laboratories recently tested an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), nicknamed "Harvester," for use in detecting nuclear test explosions. The UAV's airborne pods are equipped with radiation sensors and debris samplers, which can track radiation to its source and use particulates and gases to identify the location of a nuclear test explosion, according to a press release from Sandia.

Harvester differs from traditional nuclear test monitoring technology in that it actively investigates sources of radiation, as opposed to the immobile monitoring stations used by the United States and CTBTO, while avoiding the health risks involved with sending a manned aircraft to investigate a radioactive plume.


The Harvester program was partially funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration and is scheduled to enter Air Force service in 2014.


For more information, see the press release: