Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, and the Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, today announced the roll out of high-tech devices that will help in the treatment of injured soldiers by measuring the impact of explosive blasts.
The blast gauges measure the impact of blasts, particularly from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). They display a yellow, green or red light to indicate the level of pressure from a blast.
The gauges will help medics in Afghanistan treat injured soldiers by detecting and capturing data from blasts that will then be used to guide treatment.
“The trial will enable medics to access data to immediately assess the effects of blast pressure and acceleration from an IED or other explosion on a soldier,” Mr Snowdon said.
“We all know the injuries footballers and boxers get from a big hit. Being hit by the blast of a bomb is much worse,” Mr Clare said.
“Bomb blasts can put enormous force and pressure on the brain. These devices measure that and help our medics treat our soldiers who have been hit.”
The new blast gauges are being rolled out by the Army’s Diggerworks Team, which is responsible for developing combat solider capability and are similar to the United States Marine Corps’ Gruntworks.
The blast gauges have now begun to roll out. Over 10,000 gauges will be rolled out to troops over the next 12 months.
Soldiers will wear three blast gauges – on the outside of their helmet, on their non-firing shoulder and on their chest. The gauges are designed to withstand tough weather conditions and weigh less than 29g each. The technology was developed by the United States Defence Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
United States troops in Afghanistan are also trialling these gauges – and have collected information from more than 250 blasts to date.
Mr Snowdon first saw this technology applied to equipment worn by troops from the US when he visited DARPA headquarters in Washington in 2011.
“This is part of making sure we continue to apply world class technology to our defence force, giving health professionals the latest technology to treat brain injuries resulting from a blast,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Government has committed over $1 billion in equipment to protect our troops in Afghanistan, including;
- new combat body armour,
- upgraded Bushmaster vehicles,
- enhanced mine and IED detection equipment,
- the CRAM counter rocket, artillery and mortar system,
- Maximi machine guns and a new combat uniform.
Minister Clare's Office: Annie Williams – 0428 040 522
Minister Snowdon's Office: Lidija Ivanovski – 0407 108 935