Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2016 Contents Issue 3 2016 Defence 37
36 Defence Issue 3 2016
incorporate a DSTG-designed, high-resolution
sensor into its work.
“We have access to unique sensors – ultra-
lightweight, ultra-compact and low-power
consumption – which were developed in-house,”
“They can operate indoors, in darkness and
in smoke-obscured environments as either a
low-light camera or as a light detection and
ranging sensor for area mapping. Ultimately,
these are the types of sensors that are necessary
for ultra-small vehicles like we are developing.”
The DSTG Air Operations Simulation Centre
in Melbourne houses a number of high- and
low-immersion simulation systems for a range
of Defence aircraft, notably the C-130 Hercules,
the F/A-18 Super and Classic Hornets, and the
MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
But these simulators are not for training
pilots. They are for developing team training
environments and studying how aircraft crews
interact with their aircraft.
Behavioural research scientist Dr Christopher
Best says the simulation centre is used for more
than training research.
“In the past we have used the facilities at the
simulation centre for a range of purposes – to
reconstruct accidents, to study how our people
integrate with their platforms and to trial new
equipment,” Christopher says.
“We use an artificial intelligence to control
the ‘enemy’ combatants in the system and our
engineers have built a voice-control system to
help us control them.
“The software also enables us to draw
statistics from our participants in real time,
which we can use to streamline current
Maria Vukovic is one of the simulation
engineers who helps to adapt the system to
“We have a lot of computer science and
engineering staff in the simulation centre, but
we also work with psychologists who look at
behaviours and metrics,” Maria says.
“We can look at human-to-machine interface
technologies, crewing concepts, or we may
be asked to reconstruct the flight path in an
“The simulation centre is a completely
reconfigurable space, so we can wheel different
aircraft cockpits into the large immersive
displays and investigate what we need to.”
EFENCE Science and
Technology Group (DSTG)
marked National Science
Week with an update of its
latest innovations at Russell
Offices in Canberra on 15 August.
Six DSTG scientists delivered one-
minute presentations on technologies being
The Chief Defence Scientist, Alex
Zelinsky, says the technologies are on the
cusp of commercialisation.
“The ADF has a very strong tradition
of embracing science and leveraging
technology for Defence capability,” Alex
“It was only fitting that Defence
members and scientists came together to
acknowledge the contribution of science to
the security of our nation.
“The showcase was an opportunity
for us to share the highlights of those
technologies we have been developing in
support of the ADF.”
The presenters were Ken Smit, David
Watts, Tania Holmes, Beau Krieg, Matthew
McKinna, Chris Madden and keynote
speaker Mark Patterson.
The new technologies they covered were
PyroFilm, situational awareness knowledge
infrastructure, superfast 3D tracking,
structural integrity of ADF helicopters,
advanced tactical booster technologies and
the systematic event evaluation kit.
Mark Patterson elaborated on DSTG’s
contribution to maintaining fighting
capability in the heat. The study has been
going on for nearly a decade and was
prompted by the death, from heat stroke, of
Trooper Angus Lawrence at Mount Bundy
in the Northern Territory in 2004.
Pilot Officer Aaron Curran
Technologies on the commercial cusp
Science works on relieving the
stress when the heat is on
operating environment, servicemen
and women need to have comfortable
kit to perform at their best. Among
the technologies showcased by Defence
Science and Technology Group (DSTG) at its
Partnerships Weeks innovation showcase at
Fishermans Bend in Melbourne were the latest
advances in wearable technologies.
Specifically, the researchers have been testing
a range of emerging technologies to protect
aircraft maintainers against heat stress.
The research team leader, Dr Mark Patterson,
says the team used the latest developments in
extended battery life and miniaturised technology
to identify two types of wearable technology that
promise a more comfortable work environment
for the maintainers.
“We are referring to cooling vests and
individual heat strain monitors,” says Mark, the
head of Health and Performance in DSTG’s Land
“These two technologies focus on those
individuals most susceptible to heat illnesses
by monitoring their individual body core
temperatures and heart rates via the heat strain
monitor, to establish when they should stop
working to avoid possible heat collapse.
“We now have other technologies to counter
heat casualties, such as an inexpensive hand-held
device called the Environmental Stress Index
Monitor, which measures extreme environmental
conditions in remote operational areas.” The
device, turned into a product by Ideation Design,
was awarded the 2015 Australian Good Design
Award in the Medical and Scientific category.
Looking further afield, DSTG researchers are
using an innovative thermal sweating manikin to
collect essential data on various military clothing
and body armour.
“Data collected from the manikin can be
modelled to predict optimum safe work times in
harsh climates and for specific taskings. These
results can be useful when assessing the thermal
impacts on Defence personnel training with the
latest body armour in a jungle environment,”
“In this way we have established that our
people training with body armour in the torrid
Tully region of north Queensland had the same
risk of heat stress as wearing webbing – a finding
the Army has adopted in its equipment strategy.”
Mark says the DSTG research findings have
prompted the Army to provide specific work
duration limits for its measurement index in the
temperature range of 26 to 27 degrees Celsius.
“Our project highlights the real potential
benefits that two different wearable technologies
can have on Defence personnel working in
extreme heat, thereby enhancing Defence
capability while also managing the health and
wellbeing of our people,” he says.
From left, DSTG’s Alison Fogarty and
Mark Patterson with Ideation Design’s
Colin Howard and Alan Hooworth.
“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
CHIEF DEFENCE SCIENTIST
A visitor tries the F/A-18
Classic Hornet simulator in
the Air Operations Simulation
Centre during the DSTG
Partnerships Week event.
Photo: Corporal Sebastian Beurich
Scientist Matthew McKinna speaks about advanced
technical booster technologies.
Photo: Pilot Officer Aaron Curran
The latest generation of combat body
armour and uniform is tested for a hot
environment on a sweating manikin.
Photo: Corporal Sebastian Beurich
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