Diggerworks – New team established to enhance protection of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan

A spe­cial­ist team of com­bat expe­ri­enced sol­diers, sci­en­tists and engi­neers are part of a new team called Dig­ger­works deliv­er­ing new equip­ment to bet­ter pro­tect Aus­tralian troops.

Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said Dig­ger­works has been estab­lished to respond to the chang­ing needs of sol­diers in the field. 

Dig­ger­works com­pris­es Defence agen­cies respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing com­bat solid­er capa­bil­i­ty and is sim­i­lar to the Unit­ed States Marine Corps’ Gruntworks.

It is head­ed by Colonel Jason Blaine who com­mand­ed Men­tor­ing Task­force 1 in Afghanistan in 2010.

The lat­est exam­ple of their work is the acqui­si­tion of a new pelvic pro­tec­tion sys­tem to sol­diers cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing in Afghanistan. 

The sys­tem includes a pro­tec­tive under gar­ment to pre­vent fine dirt and shrap­nel par­ti­cles that result from explo­sions caus­ing infec­tion in any wounds sustained.

This gar­ment is expect­ed to be pro­vid­ed to Aus­tralian troops on patrol in Afghanistan from Novem­ber this year.

Defence will also tri­al a soft armour bal­lis­tic groin pro­tec­tor worn over the com­bat uni­form designed to pro­vide increased pro­tec­tion against larg­er shrapnel.

This deci­sion has been made based on the expe­ri­ence of the British Army whose sol­diers have suf­fered an increas­ing num­ber of pelvic injuries in Afghanistan.

This sys­tem will pro­vide anoth­er lay­er of pro­tec­tion for Aus­tralian sol­diers against infec­tion and injury in the field,” Mr Clare said.

The work Dig­ger­works is doing is very important.

It’s about sol­diers who have been in Afghanistan using their expe­ri­ence to help sol­diers in the field.

Dig­ger­works is also respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing the new lighter com­bat body armour called TBAS which has just been rolled out to our troops in Afghanistan.

TBAS has been designed based on feed­back from our troops in Afghanistan that the exist­ing body armour was too heavy and made it dif­fi­cult to do their jobs. 

TBAS is lighter, fits bet­ter, is more com­fort­able and makes it eas­i­er for sol­diers to get into a fir­ing position.

I was in Afghanistan last month and spoke to our sol­diers about their new body armour,” Mr Clare said.

The feed­back I got was extreme­ly positive.

Sol­diers told me it made it eas­i­er for them to do their job.”

Dig­ger­works will also work on a $20 mil­lion research project with Defence indus­try, the Defence Mate­r­i­al Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­tre, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wol­lon­gong and RMIT to enhance the pro­tec­tive equip­ment worn by sol­diers to com­bat a range of exist­ing and evolv­ing threats like Impro­vised Explo­sive Devices.

This is in addi­tion to the pack­age of ini­tia­tives worth $1.6 bil­lion the Gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to fol­low­ing the 2009 Force Pro­tec­tion Review. 

Mea­sures that have been deliv­ered as part of this pack­age include: 

·        Upgrad­ing our Bush­mas­ter vehi­cles to pro­vide bet­ter pro­tec­tion for troops inside;

·        Equip­ping Bush­mas­ters with heav­ier cal­i­bre weapons;

·        Attach­ing mine rollers to the front of Bush­mas­ters to roll ahead of the vehi­cle to take the impact of an IED explosion;

·        Pur­chas­ing new hand­held mine detectors;

·        Improv­ing counter IED train­ing here in Aus­tralia; and

·        T he Counter Rock­et Mor­tar and Artillery ear­ly warn­ing system.


Media con­tact:
Kore­na Flana­gan – 02 6277 7620

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

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