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Defence Minister visits DSTO in Melbourne.

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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

Thursday, 6 November 2008 161/2008


The Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today visited the Fishermans Bend facilities of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne.

The Minister was briefed by Dr Ken Anderson, Acting-Deputy Chief Defence Scientist.

Making his first visit to the DSTO in Melbourne, Mr Fitzgibbon saw a unique demonstration of a walking and sweating mannequin, which is assisting defence scientists to select uniforms that minimise heat stress for Australian troops. The mobile mannequin measures the thermal insulation and evaporative cooling properties of military clothing ensembles.

“Our troops have to operate in hot and highly hazardous environments and DSTO research which improves the comfort levels of their protective clothing adds to the performance and effectiveness of the soldiers,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“Measurements taken from the sweating mannequin will enable DSTO scientists to recommend optimum work and rest schedules that reduce heat injuries on uniformed Defence personnel on active duty.”

The sweating mannequin will greatly reduce the number of expensive, time-consuming human trials and improve on the ‘hot plate’ trials which only allow small areas of clothing to be tested instead of the whole garment.

Mr Fitzgibbon was also briefed on the latest research and development activities at the DSTO Melbourne facility where the recent F/A-18 fatigue tests were conducted, resulting in fewer aircraft requiring centre barrel replacement and saving Defence $400 million.

“DSTO is the acknowledged leader in extending the lives of military aircraft,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“It plays a vital role by providing independent, responsive advice and services to reduce the cost of operating and maintaining expensive Defence equipment.”

Media contacts: Jack Smith (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0408 116 423

Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664