Defence scientist Darryn Smart has won a prestigious Clunies Ross Award for developing force protection systems to counter the global threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Smart was awarded the Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award, presented annually by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (AATSE), for his work on the Redwing program which developed two robust, light-weight counter-IED 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.

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 coordination by the Australian Military Sales Office.

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,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

Minister Payne thanked team leader 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,” she said.

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