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Issue 3 2016 Defence
XX Defence Issue 3 2016
The best and latest technology arises out of a meeting of the sharpest scientific minds
from inside and outside Defence
Corporal Sebastian Beurich
O RESEARCH and develop
world-leading technology, Defence
Science and Technology Group
(DSTG) needs the brightest minds
from academia and industry
collaborating on its projects.
For that reason, DSTG showcased some of
its key projects during its Partnerships Week
event at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne in early
June, with the aim of generating interest from
the scientific community.
The Chief Defence Scientist, Alex Zelinsky,
says strengthening industry partnerships helps
to ensure access to the latest technology.
“While we have many great people working
in DSTG, we don’t have all of the best people.
The idea of partnerships is to reach out and
form alliances so we can bring the best people
on board and solve the difficult problems as
quickly as possible,” Alex says.
“The Defence White Paper and the Industry
Policy Statement outlined the game-changing
technologies – cyber operations, autonomous
systems, hypersonics, undersea warfare and
quantum technology – all of which are areas we
are looking at building partnerships.”
One of the assets available to DSTG for
researching and testing technologies for
Defence’s maritime fleet is an enormous water
tank. It is six metres tall and holds 600 tonnes
The DSTG’s Program Leader – Submarine
Capability, Kevin Gaylor, says the tank is
used for testing acoustic signature reduction
“It’s called a reverberation chamber, which
means none of the wall’s sides are parallel.
When we use it for acoustic experiments, we
can accurately measure the acoustic response of
what we are testing,” Kevin says.
“At the moment we are testing acoustic
materials such as anechoic tiles, which are
designed to absorb active sonar pings, not
reflect them back. We’re trying to make our
submarines invisible to active sonar.
“The current anechoic tiles in use on the
Collins-class submarines were developed in
Australia by DSTG in conjunction with an
Australian manufacturing company. The next
generation of tiles, also developed by DSTG,
are being tested in this facility.”
While the tank holds about a quarter of the
volume of an Olympic swimming pool, it’s
too small to test full-scale parts. So DSTG’s
Maritime Division has developed a world-class
“We work internationally on the development
and validation of these models, so when we put
our tests up against other nations’ modelling
capability, we’re convinced we are up there with
the best,” Kevin says.
“We talk to other nations and share how
we measure and test our materials, but not the
‘secret recipe’ or the exact materials.
“The materials we develop meet the
operational requirements we already know we
need. Our challenge at the moment is to extend
their performance so we can combat potential
Reducing threats to Defence personnel and
civilian first responders is a focus of all DSTG’s
research. Its Aerospace Division is using
unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to reduce
or even negate those threats.
A scientist with Aerospace Division, Jennifer
Palmer says the vision is to create small
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that can be
used in the urban environment.
“A lot of this has been done previously but
typically with large and heavy sensors and
processors,” Jennifer says.
“We are developing UAVs for things like
surveillance and mapping, to create maps
of regions which are uncharacterised –
damaged buildings or areas that haven’t been
“They could also be used for specialised
missions, such as contaminant search and
source localisation. If there is a chemical release
in a city we could do the initial work with teams
of unmanned airborne and land vehicles.
“We are trying to create a situation where we
aren’t exposing soldiers and first responders to
those types of chemical dangers.”
The UAV research team is working with
the Weapons and Combat Systems Division to
DSTG industry experience
placement students James
Kennedy, left, and Stefan
Kiss show off an unmanned
aerial system at the
Partnerships Week event.
DSTG’s Maritime Division
demonstrates an optimised
exhaust baffle in their
water-testing tank during
Photos: Corporal Sebastian Beurich
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