Thursday, 20 August 2015 17:04

Technology vital to defence force maintaining ‘capability edge’

Crew member on the E-7A Wedgetail, the ADF's airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform Crew member on the E-7A Wedgetail, the ADF's airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform

Australia’s chief defence scientist says the defence force needs to leverage advances in technology to maintain its capability edge.

Dr Alex Zelinsky was speaking at an event today marking National Science Week and which showcased a number of innovative technologies designed to support the Australian Defence Force.

“Today we’re highlighting a diverse range of these technologies developed by Defence scientists and also by Australian industry under the Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program.

“National Science Week has given us a great opportunity to showcase how science and technology supports defence capability.”

Among the technologies presented were low-cost, lightweight force protection systems developed under the Redwing program by Defence scientists and manufactured by Australian industry to counter improved explosive devices.

Also showcased were technologies designed for the modern soldier including the Non Rigid Electromechanical Exoskeleton, which takes the weight off a soldier’s back when carrying heavy backpacks over long distances, transferring the weight load to the ground to reduce fatigue, pain and injury.

The Soldier Integrated Power System is a kit of flexible, lightweight solar cells, and power- generating electronic textiles to reduce the weight of batteries carried by soldiers, and was successfully demonstrated and developed through the CTD program by Australian company Tectonica.

Dr Zelinsky said defence scientists are investigating a novel energy harvesting approach that scavenges power from a vehicle’s structural vibrations and converts them into electrical power for use by embedded diagnostic sensors and devices.

According to Dr Zelinsky, another silent threat faced by Defence as well as civilian industries is in the “cyber realm”, and he said defence scientists have won an innovation award for the development of a Digital Video Guard, a unique computer security device that provides protection against cyber intrusion.

Dr Zelinsky said the keynote presentation on the development of the wing kit for the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) demonstrated the value that science and technology adds to defence capability.

“The wing kit, developed by our scientists, enables the standard JDAM weapon to more accurately find longer range targets, giving the launch aircraft a fire-and-forget capability at a safe standoff distance.”

The first production wing kits manufactured by Australian company Ferra Engineering were recently delivered to the RAAF.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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