2017 Clunies Ross Knowledge Commercialisation Award - Mr Darryn Smart
CLUNIES ROSS KNOWLEDGE COMMERCIALISATION AWARD 2017 PROTECTING OUR TROOPS FROM IEDs Mr Darryn Smart Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) take a daily physical and emotional toll in Afghanistan and other conflict zones. Mr Smart has researched radio-activated IEDs and developed novel counter-IED units to protect individual Australian Defence Force (ADF) soldiers and vehicles as well as coalition partners. Mr Smart is Group Leader, Communications and Electronic Warfare, at the Defence Science and Technology Group, based at Edinburgh, South Australia. In this role he led the IED Countermeasure system development team that developed four unique protection systems and devices then took them through commercialisation with an estimated benefit of $61 million. The products showcase how Australia’s cutting-edge technological development can make an impact on the global stage. He has more than 30 years’ expertise in electronic warfare and is credited with having a profound impact on the cultural environment within the defence scientific community through leading and managing teams across large multi-disciplinary activities. Mr Smart’s team developed the IED countermeasure program for the world’s first effective personal protection device that was light enough to be worn by each soldier. Previously, one large force protection electronic counter measure (FPECM) device was carried by a soldier to protect the group within a defined area. He developed and tested the technology, collaborating with the then Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Australian businesses to commercialise it. No ADF personnel have died from radio-activated IEDs since 2012. Under the Redwing program, his team then developed devices that were effective against IEDs but could be used by partner countries with limited FPECM capability, without fear of exploitation by hostile forces. The team used its deep understanding of signal processing and systems engineering to develop two fit-for-purpose products – Greengum, a compact personal protection unit; and Greygum, a unit to protect light vehicles. Australian production began in late 2014 and 105,000 units were sold and delivered to Afghanistan Security Forces in June 2015, with another 55,000 units in 2016, and very recently, another order was placed for 34,000 units in 2017. These units are used by Afghani army and police personnel.