Australia — New Environment Simulation Centre to enhance soldier protection

A new facil­i­ty to test com­bat cloth­ing will help to pro­vide enhanced pro­tec­tion for Aus­tralian sol­diers, the Min­is­ter for Defence Sci­ence and Per­son­nel, War­ren Snow­don announced today.

Mr Snow­don opened a new $4 mil­lion envi­ron­ment test facil­i­ty at the Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Organ­i­sa­tion (DSTO) in Mel­bourne.

“Our ser­vice­men and women deserve the best pos­si­ble pro­tec­tion and this facil­i­ty will enable sci­en­tists to devel­op pro­tec­tive cloth­ing suit­able for a range of haz­ardous and tox­ic envi­ron­ments,” Mr Snow­don said.

“This state-of-the-art facil­i­ty can sim­u­late any nat­ur­al envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tion that ADF per­son­nel are like­ly to encounter between ‑20° to +50° Cel­sius.”

DSTO researchers will use the mul­ti-pur­pose envi­ron­ment sim­u­la­tion facil­i­ty to assess the per­for­mance and func­tion of ADF cloth­ing includ­ing exist­ing uni­forms, devel­op­men­tal mate­ri­als, and new design options.

They will also be able to assess the lim­its of human phys­i­o­log­i­cal per­for­mance in cli­mat­ic extremes.

A key fea­ture of the facil­i­ty is a full-size, artic­u­lat­ed man­nequin that mim­ics human move­ment, enabling sci­en­tists to make objec­tive, full sys­tem assess­ments rather than rely­ing on the claims of man­u­fac­tur­ers.

“This is a major improve­ment on the exist­ing sys­tem of test­ing which used small swatch sam­ples cut from uni­forms or rolls of cloth,” Mr Snow­don said. “The ful­ly kit­ted-out, mov­ing man­nequin will sub­sti­tute as a vir­tu­al sol­dier and allow the entire ensem­ble to be eval­u­at­ed in a holis­tic way.”

“This new facil­i­ty sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhances DSTO’s sup­port to the ADF’s inte­grat­ed force pro­tec­tion capa­bil­i­ty and will help to refine the design of com­bat cloth­ing, so it offers more com­fort, pro­tec­tion and inte­grates bet­ter with oth­er com­bat equip­ment,” he said.

Mr Snow­don thanked local indus­tries for their work in the design and man­u­fac­ture of the facil­i­ty.

Heuch Pty Ltd of Vic­to­ria won the ten­der for the design and con­struc­tion of the tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled cham­ber which was built by Nicro Engi­neer­ing of Gee­long. Mel­bourne firm Hook­er Cock­ram was respon­si­ble for con­struc­tion of the build­ing hous­ing the facil­i­ty.

“This is sure­ly tes­ta­ment to Aus­tralian industry’s abil­i­ty to deliv­er projects that direct­ly ben­e­fit Defence capa­bil­i­ties and I would encour­age oth­er local com­pa­nies to con­sid­er future oppor­tu­ni­ties work­ing along­side Defence,” Mr Snow­don said.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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