The Federal Government has announced it will contribute more than $9 million toward research for the protection of soldiers of the Australian Defence Force.


The funding is in addition to industry funding of around $11 million in cash and in-kind contributions.


The project, a partnership between the Government, Defence industry and research organisations, aims to improve the protective equipment that soldiers wear to combat a range of existing and evolving threats, including Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


It will develop, test and evaluate prototypes of new equipment in order to:

  • improve ballistic, blast and flash protection;
  • improve head, face and eye protection;
  • decrease weight and bulk of protective systems;
  • reduce blunt trauma that can occur behind armour;
  • reduce the risk of a soldier being detected; and
  • improve protection from fire, chemical, biological and radiological threats.

The Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) will lead the team with support from research organisations including the University of Wollongong and RMIT.


Confirmed and likely industry partners include Australian Defence Apparel, Ballistic and Mechanical Testing, Bruck Textiles, Tectonica, Pacific Engineering Systems International and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing.  Several other companies have also expressed interest in participating in the program.


The research team will also work with the Army’s specialist team of soldiers who have recently returned from Afghanistan, known as Diggerworks.