The US Army has awarded a contract to Security Detection for the provision of 3,288 metal detectors to help soldiers in the search for roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

Under the $3.8m contract, the company will supply ML-1M magnetic locators, to search for improvised explosive devices, hidden weapons caches, iron pipes, steel drums, energised electric cables and unexploded ordnance.

The ML-1M magnetic locator features a digital meter, polarity indicator, gain setting and battery life display.

Security Detection owner Michael White said soldiers from an army unit out of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, are to use the ML-1M magnetic locator on patrols, sweeping the detector from side to side in front of them.

“The 39in wand can locate metal objects as deep as 15ft,” he said.

The equipment weighs only 2lb including batteries, with easy keypad switchesto allow the soldier one-hand operation.

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A total of 1,440 metal detectors have already been shipped to the US Army.