The US Army has awarded an $18m contract to research and review company Sky Research to locate unexploded munitions across military sites in the US.

The company has developed a process called Wide Area Assessment that uses geophysical, aviation, engineering and remote-sensing technologies to detect unexploded bombs or shells, a company spokesman said.

As part of the investigation, the company will use light detection and ranging technology (LIDAR) to map the landscape.

LIDAR will use laser technology to accurately measure topography and collect historical evidence of munitions activities from sites including World War II artillery ranges.

High airborne sensors will be used to cover over 100 square miles or equivalent in a day, looking for indications of where munitions activities may have taken place.

After breaking down big sites into manageable pieces, the company will use low airborne sensors and a helicopter drone flying about 3m above the ground carrying a ferrous metal detector.

The final detection process will use ground searches to locate the exact position of ordnance for cleaning.