Speedy prototyping key to innovation success

Maestrano chief executive Stephane Ibos had urged Western governments, including Australia, to closely consider Israel’s successful defence innovation focus, a procedure typified by very fast prototyping.

Speaking to Defence Connect’s Phillip Tarrant, Ibos said Israeli companies tended to "prototype really rapidly, really fast".

"The government takes the prototypes and immediately conducts some sort of field trials or something to … fast-track innovation in the actual programs," he added.

Underpinning this urgent focus on accelerating its innovation pipeline was Israel’s geopolitical situation within the Middle East, Ibos explained 

However, he did take issue with what he described as a somewhat callous approach to the military personnel’s well being within that fast innovation cycle.

"What I've seen of the Israeli defence industry is that they at times have little regard for the actual soldiers, so they would put innovation in place but if it's not able to withstand the blast, or if it means that in case of an attack the soldiers will lose their legs because they're being crushed," he warned. "You hear stuff like, 'Well, they're soldiers so it's their job'."

Ibos said in the end he had more sympathy with the Australian defence attitude, adding, "I think Australia is right in saying, 'No, it's a soldier … a father, it's a son … a brother, so no, we want the guy to potentially come back home alive and if possible well'.

"So it's not all rosy, the way Israel manages that fast prototyping, but by the same token I think we need to be aware of the emerging threats. If you look at ISIS, for instance, these guys go on the field with plastic bottles filled with TNT and throw that and make maximum damage."

Summing up, Ibos highlighted the troubling discrepancy between Western nations’ insistence on ensuring compliance with the relevant standards and different attitudes prevalent among certain high-profile operators.

"[This] unfortunately may mean we are behind the red forces that don't have the same regard," he said. "I don't have a solution for that. I think it's a horrific equation but it's certainly something we need to find a solution for."

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