Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2010 Contents 36 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
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The Defence Science and Technology Organisation has had
another busy year supporting the Australian Defence Force in
its operations and acquisitions and in providing science and
technology solutions to current and future needs.
Support to operations
Early in the year, DSTO reached 100 staff members
deployed in support of operations in a little more
than a decade.
Joint Operations Division chief Jennie Clothier said
deploying scientists and technologists to directly
conduct urgent technical investigations, develop
new systems and to assist in the evaluation of
equipment in theatre was tried in the Vietnam
War, but then not used again until the ADF led the
multilateral force into East Timor in 1999.
“Deployed staff are supported by the ability to reach
back for support from colleagues in Australia who
supply additional advice and information, adding
even more value to this on-the-ground support,” Dr
As well, a new Support to Operations database
was introduced which is accessible to DSTO and
ADF staff with a need to know. Dr Clothier said the
database increased the accessibility and timeliness
of operational information, providing a better source
of information for analysts, thus increasing support
to soldiers in theatre.
DSTO’s Scottsdale laboratory has been looking at
how soldiers are fed to ensure that dietary intakes
match the person and the job. The new ration
scales developed by the Human Protection and
Performance Division divide ADF members into
sub-groups related to age and gender and then
take levels of physical activity into account. These
new scales mean rations will more closely match
individual needs while helping ADF members
maintain a balanced diet.
By Karen Polglaze
DEFENCE SCIENCE AND
aBOVe: Members of the DSTO Electronic Warfare and
Radar Division fibre laser team (L-R) Miro Dubinovsky,
Alex Hemming, Shayne Bennetts and Len Corena.
The DSTO Environmental Data Server was released
to the Defence community mid-year. The system
has been designed to provide rapid access to
high-fidelity environmental models and can be used
by people who do not have advanced expertise in
Meanwhile, the Physical Employment Standards
Centre of Excellence has been working with several
trade areas in the Army to establish the physical
capabilities needed for a range of jobs. The centre is
a partnership between DSTO and the University of
Wollongong and is made up of a multi-disciplinary
team of exercise scientists who identify the
physical requirements of individual trades, and then
devise occupational fitness assessments.
This year, the team completed work with the Royal
Australian Armoured Corps, the Royal Australian
Engineers and the air dispatcher, operator
petroleum, parachute rigger and all ground-based
trades in the Royal Australian Electrical and
Mechanical Engineers. The team has also completed
an assessment of the generic requirements
of common combat arms soldiers, and has begun
work with infantry, artillery, airfield defence guards,
clearance divers and Army aviation trades.
The acceptance into service in May of the first two
Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control
Aircraft highlighted 17 years of work by a large
number of DSTO personnel who provided in-depth
advice. The work began with a project definition
study in early 1994 and continued through the
tender evaluation in 1999 which involved 75 DSTO
staff members from seven different divisions.
During acquisition, DSTO has had a rotating team
of six on site in Baltimore and Seattle supporting
the technology areas of radar, electronic warfare,
multi-sensor integration, mission system integration
and human system integration. Fourteen DSTO
staff members undertook these roles, ensuring a
significant body of knowledge will support 42 Wing
in operating the Wedgetail and bringing the aircraft
up to full operational capability.
The work on fatigue life which this year earned
Head Structural Integrity Combat Aircraft Loris
Molent the 2010 Minister’s Award for Achievement
in Defence Science has resulted in further savings
for the Royal Australian Air Force in keeping its
F/A-18 Hornets in the air. New developments in
structural lifing methods in DSTO’s Air Vehicles
Division and the findings of a long-term program
analysing structural fatigue life resulted in a
significant reduction in scope of the refurbishment
program, which means multi-million dollar savings,
shortening of the program and increased aircraft
Software developed through DSTO innovation and
RAAF data collection has resulted in international
adoption of a money-saving maintenance technique
for C-130J aircraft and a significant Australian
contribution to the aircraft’s user group.
The Dynamic Propeller Balancing Software vastly
reduces propeller vibration by collecting data while
the C-130J is in the air. These data more accurately
inform maintenance, reducing the need for trial
and error and ground testing. Maintenance now
usually takes a couple of hours rather than the
approximately 37 required previously. The software
solution to propeller balance has proved so useful
that six of the seven member countries of the
C-130J user group (Italy, Denmark, Canada, Norway,
Australia and the United Kingdom) have adopted it.
The seventh member, the United States, is reviewing
the terms of the software licence before making a
A program that could lead to a revolution in future
flight had its second successful test flight in a
planned series of 10.
The hypersonic flight, conducted in March at the
Woomera Test Range, is part of a joint research
program by DSTO and the US Air Force. The test
flight enabled scientists to collect fundamental data
critical to the design and development of an engine
capable of sustained hypersonic flight through the
atmosphere at speeds of more than five times the
speed of sound (Mach 5).
The program, called Hypersonic International Flight
Research Experimentation (HIFiRE), is investigating
the fundamental science of hypersonics technology
and its potential for next generation aeronautical
systems. Research Leader Allan Paull said
hypersonic flight could lead to new applications
“Importantly, hypersonic flight could be the means
by which space becomes more accessible and
launching communications and other satellites
becomes more economic,” Dr Paull said.
Woomera was also the scene of two more
successful tests in August and September of the
air-to-ground Joint Standoff Weapon. The glide
weapon, which has a range of up to 100 kilometres,
was dropped from a RAAF Super Hornet in the test
firings which were the first outside the US. All test
outcomes were achieved and the precision strike
capability was demonstrated with the destruction of
the hardened concrete target in both tests.
A new fibre laser-based Directed InfraRed
CounterMeasure (DIRCM) laser this year passed the
first stage of its potential deployment as part of the
infrared countermeasure system for combat aircraft.
Ten years of research into DIRCM lasers in
DSTO’s Electronic Warfare and Radar Division and
collaboration with BAE Systems reduced the size,
weight and number of optical components in the
system while increasing performance. Developed
in conjunction with BAE Systems as part of the
Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program,
the fibre laser technology is world class.
The Emerging Technologies Conference held in May
in Sydney provided an opportunity for around 180
delegates to consider the threats and opportunities
in rapid developments in science. Co-hosted by
DSTO and the Defence Intelligence Organisation,
the trilateral conference brought together speakers
from the science and technology and the intelligence
communities of Australia, the United States and
the United Kingdom.
A highlight of the year was the inaugural
international peer review of DSTO’s Corporate
Enabling Research Program Initiatives. Experts from
the US, Canada and the United Kingdom joined the
DSTO Advisory Board and senior Defence leaders to
subject the program to rigorous scrutiny.
The review is a key measure to ensure the
program will deliver quality and relevant science
in a timely manner. A significant focal point of the
review is to ensure the research is transitioned
into Defence capability.
“The review was a success with the external
scrutiny from our eminent panel of experts providing
very valuable guidance for DSTO’s enabling research
programs,” Director General Science Strategy and
Policy Dr Lynn Booth said.
“As a result, the link between CERP Initiatives and
the transition and integration to Defence capability
will be much tighter.”
The CERP Initiatives comprise research across
one or more divisions of DSTO that is of strategic
significance to Defence and/or national security.
The CERP enables DSTO to conduct research into
key science and technology areas as outlined in
the Defence White Paper to anticipate, and meet,
Defence needs. The program is an important
mechanism for fostering interactions with, and
leveraging from, industry, academia, and Australian
and overseas research bodies.
In October, DSTO launched a new partnership with
the University of Melbourne which has created the
Defence Science Institute, supported by Victoria’s
Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional
Development. The Institute will address six
initial research topics: biological systems, human
protection and performance, signature management,
energy and propulsion systems, micro-radar
technologies, and intelligent information systems.
Outcomes from these research areas will directly
enhance defence capabilities.
An exciting new development in unmanned ground
vehicles was delivered through an international
contest designed to challenge the minds of
the world’s leading robotics researchers and
developers. Five teams, three from the US and
one each from Australia and Turkey, contested the
Multi Autonomous Ground-robotics International
Challenge (MAGIC) in Adelaide in November.
The teams were short-listed from 23 which
submitted entries designed to develop next
generation autonomous vehicle systems. The use
of autonomous unmanned vehicles has the potential
to greatly reduce the risk to soldiers required
to carry out hazardous duties such as detecting
improvised explosive devices.
The two-yearly Land Warfare Conference, co-
hosted by DSTO and the Army, followed hard
on the heels of the MAGIC Challenge and was
once again a major event for users, providers,
academics, designers and manufacturers to meet,
present, share and exchange new and visionary
ideas on Land Systems. The theme for this year’s
conference was Full Spectrum Threats: Adaptive
Responses. A feature was the presentation of
research awards to the winners of the MAGIC 2010
International Robotic Challenge.
BeLOW: DSTO Air Vehicles Division members Paul Marsden (left),
Brian Rebbechi (third from right) and Ken Vaughan (far right) with RAAF team members.
fROM LefT: University
of Melbourne Professor
of Physics Steven Prawer,
Minister for Defence Science
and Personnel Warren
of Melbourne Vice
Chancellor Professor Glyn
Davis, Victorian Cabinet
Secretary Tony Lupton,
and Deputy Chief Defence
Scientist Platform and
Human Systems Ian Sare at
the launch of the Defence
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