Defence Science Technology (DST) Group scientist Darryn Smart has won the prestigious Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award for developing innovative technology to benefit the operational capability of the Australian and coalition defence forces.
Smart was recognised for his work on DST Group's Redwing program and Huckleberry program, which entailed developing force protection systems to counter the global threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Minister for Defence Marise Payne congratulated Smart for his significant contribution to the industry and the ADF.
"This is a well-deserved recognition for innovations that have delivered significant operational capability for the benefit of ADF, coalition and partner forces," Minister Payne said.
"The rapid development of unique devices under Defence’s force protection program has been both timely and life-saving for security forces threatened by IEDs."
The Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award is presented annually by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
For the Redwing program, Smart developed two robust, light-weight systems – a handheld version called Greengum for use by dismounted troops and a more powerful system called Greygum for fitting to light vehicles.
For the Huckleberry program, Smart developed a new device and software to provide urgent protection for ADF troops against an emerging threat for which there was no existing countermeasure.
Mr Smart’s team developed the world’s first effective personal protection device light enough to be worn by a soldier.
Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said these programs represented an exemplary success story for innovation, commercialisation and collaboration between Defence and industry. The Redwing systems were developed by Smart at DST Group, sponsored by Defence’s Joint Counter Improvised Threat Task Force and manufactured by Australian industry under project co-ordination by the Australian Military Sales Office.
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The Redwing industry partners include L3 Micreo, Ultra Electronics, Associated Electronics Services, AXIOM Precision Manufacturing and Lintek.
"The Redwing systems have been commercialised with an estimated benefit to Australian industry of $64 million and, to date, Australia has supplied 150,000 units of the Redwing equipment to the Afghanistan National Security Forces," Minister Payne said.
Minister Payne thanked Smart, and the team, including Ben Barona, the principal manufacturing engineer, Katherine Thatcher and Rex Russell from the Australian Military Sales Office, and Tim Heenan from the Joint Counter Improvised Threat Task Force.
"These counter-IED capabilities would not have been possible without the expertise of the small and medium enterprises that were involved in the programs and they share in the recognition of this award," Minister Payne said.