Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 7 2012 Contents DSTO leads way in flight research
By Sharon Akinyi
NOT even the sky is the limit for the Defence Science
and Technology Organisation (DSTO) team recently
presented with the prestigious von Karman Award for
collaborating on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International
Flight Research Experimentation) program.
Jointly established by DSTO and the US Air Force
Research Laboratory in 2006, the HIFiRE program
aims to advance hypersonic flight – flight through the
atmosphere at speeds more than five times the speed of
DSTO scientist Dr Allan Paull, who helped design
the HIFiRE program, accepted the award along with
representatives of the program’s major partners, Doug
Dolvin (US Air Force Research Laboratory), Dr Michael
Smart (University of Queensland) and Dr Kevin Bowcutt
(Boeing Research and Technology, USA).
Formally known as the von Karman Award for
International Cooperation in Aeronautics, and presented
by the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences,
the award acknowledges programs that achieve
substantial advancements and exceptional international
collaboration in the field of aeronautics.
“HIFiRE is a flight program that tests the fundamental
physics underlying flight and propulsion at hypersonic
speeds,” Allan explained.
“Hypersonics is one of the least understood areas of
aeronautics, and the experiments performed as part of
the HIFiRE program are designed to cornerstone many
of the uncertainties in this area.”
Flight experiments conducted under the HIFiRE program
test key technologies and designs critical to achieving
practical hypersonic flight.
“The results from the flights to date are exceptionally
significant on a number of fronts. The knowledge gained
is key to enabling future development of hypersonic
technology,” Allan said.
Advancements in hypersonic technology would
dramatically transform high-speed flight (think London
to Sydney in two hours) and provide more cost-effective
access to outer space.
As well as aiding the wider community, developments
in hypersonic technology will also have benefits for
“Defence will have an accurate understanding of the
potential of hypersonic vehicles that will appear in the
near future,” Allan explained.
“Defence will be able to evaluate hypersonic concepts
and platforms and be in a well-informed position when
these platforms are put into service, putting Defence at
the forefront of this technology.”
He said the DSTO team had demonstrated that its
technological ideas were sound, and possibly world-
breaking, through successful flight testing.
“I get to work with the team to join the many pieces of
the puzzle and come closer to achieving closure in this
area, which is closer than most people realise.
“This award goes a long way to endorsing the approach
adopted by the HIFiRE team in its communication and
“I am very proud of the success that the HIFiRE team
has had. It has been a privilege to work with such a
dedicated, robust and loyal team.”
DSTO also won the von Karman Award in 2002 for its
work with Canada on the F/A-18 structural test program.
DSTO scientist Dr Allan Paull
conducts field research for the
Hypersonic International Flight
SINCE opening in May, the Russell Conference Centre
has recorded more than 1000 bookings.
Four of the centre’s six rooms boast video conference
systems, including one secure system, but only 13 per
cent of bookings have been for video conferences.
Acting Deputy Secretary Defence Support and Reform
Group Steve Grzeskowiak is encouraging people to use
the centre, particularly for video conferencing.
“The fiscal reality that Defence now faces has a number
of clear implications for our finances and budget, and we
have to reduce our expenditure on travel,” Steve said.
In addition to the four video conference rooms, the
centre contains two large combinable meeting rooms.
Several Defence groups are now using these rooms
instead of hiring external venues, saving Defence
between $500-$2000 every day the centre is used.
Rooms in the Russell
can be booked by
Room Bookings on
(02) 6266 4499 or
gov.au. The centre’s
intranet site is at http://
Conference centre provides options
Issue 7 2012
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