Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2016 Contents 17
Issue 3 2016 Defence
16 Defence Issue 3 2016
The CDF, Air Chief Marshal Mark
Binskin, highlights some of
the advances that ensure we
maintain a capability edge
earlier this year I visited the
newly formed Air Warfare
Centre and Defence Science and
Technology Group’s (DSTG)
Adelaide facilities where I had the opportunity
to see some of the work our engineers and
scientists are doing to keep the ADF at the
forefront of military capability.
As reported in this edition of Defence
Magazine, a small team from DSTG won a
public sector innovation award for the suite
of hand-held and vehicle-mounted products
designed to reduce the threat posed by
improvised explosive devices.
The Redwing Program and my visit to
South Australia highlight one of the greatest
challenges facing defence forces in the 21st
century: how to maintain a capability edge
in a complex environment where threats and
technology are constantly evolving.
Staying ahead of the game requires
innovative thinking that contests established
conventions and allows us to continue to
develop and adapt our capabilities once they are
The information technology sector led the
way with what is known as the spiral method
– a phased, iterative development program that
allows for incremental release and refinement
through a phased development cycle.
The most familiar example is the smart
phone, which allows us to download regular
software updates that extend the life and utility
of the phone between full model upgrades.
Applying the same principle to defence
acquisitions gives us greater agility to modify
equipment in order to meet changes in the
operating environment, which ultimately allows
us to extend life of a particular capability.
“STAYING AHEAD OF
THE GAME REQUIRES
ALLOWS US TO CONTINUE
TO DEVELOP AND ADAPT
OUR CAPABILITIES ONCE
THEY ARE IN SERVICE.”
Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment,
demonstrate the Land 125 Soldier Combat Ensemble.
Photo: Corporal Mark Doran
WITH THE CDF
Regardless of the capability under
development, incremental introduction programs
have four common phases in each cycle:
identifying and understanding the end-user
There are many examples of innovation
happening across Defence, but I would like to
highlight one in particular.
In May 2015, Army began to introduce the
new Soldier Combat Ensemble (SCE) under an
adaptive acquisition program.
The first iteration of helmets and body
armour were produced to NATO standards while
the initial hearing protection was designed to
meet Australian industry standards.
The new SCE was provided to soldiers
deployed on operations or posted to the Ready
Brigade, the Brisbane-based 7th Combat
Brigade. The soldiers using the kit were asked
for their feedback to help inform the next
generation of SCE.
As a result of this first review cycle, the
original helmets were replaced with a lighter
model that also offered better protection.
Hearing protection was improved and issues
with eye protection were identified and
resolved when the second tranche of SCE was
issued earlier this year.
The intent is to ensure the SCE continues
to evolve so that the equipment can be rapidly
modified to include new technologies or
address changes in operating conditions. Each
iteration of the SCE will be reviewed and
developed annually before it is provided to
the readying force elements of the ADF’s land
The successful SCE roll-out has allowed
further adaptations of the combat ensemble to
meet specific requirements for different roles
The result means more tailored body
armour systems, uniforms and load carriage
systems across Army and specially designed
kit for the unique tasks performed by Navy and
Air Force personnel. The SCE model has also
become the template to introduce new field
equipment using those established methods
In fact, the success of any spiral or adaptive
acquisition program depends on the strength of
the cooperation across the Services, industry
partners and the end users.
Under the Diggerworks banner, the SCE is
the result of close collaboration between Army
Headquarters, Capability Acquisition and
Sustainment Group and DSTG, which has now
expanded to include consultation with Navy
and Air Force.
Building those working relationships early
in the development phase and maintaining
them throughout the life of the project is
difficult to achieve and hard to sustain.
The successful implementation of the SCE
belies its complexity. The focus on continuous
improvement needs to be embedded in a
project from its inception and each iteration
must be carefully choreographed so it is built
into the capability’s through life.
There are no short cuts in this process,
but the reward is in ensuring we provide
our people with the best possible equipment
available to do their jobs.
Dr Scott Foster shows the Underwater
Acoustic Test Facility to the Chief of the
Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark
Binskin; the Chief Maritime Division, Defence
Science and Technology Group, Dr David
Kershaw; the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice
Admiral David Johnson; and the Acting Chief
of Land Division, Dr Gareth Parker.
Photo: Corporal Colin Dadd
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