Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, yesterday announced that collaboration between Defence and industry will develop the equivalent of a Black Box for soldiers, known as the ‘Fight Recorder’.
The two industry partners will receive AU$700,000 from the Next Generation Technologies Fund which launched in March this year, to fully develop this product. The Next Generation Technologies Fund is a forward looking programme focusing on research in emerging and future technologies for the "future Defence force after next". According to the official website, a total of AU$730 million will be invested in the programme over the decade till June 2026.
Minister Pyne said the Fight Recorder would be a soldier-worn system aimed at capturing valuable data on the battlefield, and would act as an emergency beacon to reduce the time taken to reach and treat battlefield casualties.
“Survival rates for battlefield casualties are closely tied to response times and the Fight Recorder will enable Defence to quickly locate and treat casualties,” Minister Pyne said.
“In addition to serving as a location beacon, the data captured by the Fight Recorder could be used to inform the design and performance of soldier equipment and protective wear.
“Start-up telecommunications company, Myriota and wearable technology company IMeasureU, were selected from forty-seven quality industry and university applicants from across Australia and New Zealand to develop the Fight Recorder.
“Defence will work closely with these companies to help deliver this world-first innovation.
“Once again our local small and medium enterprises have demonstrated they are well placed to deliver Defence innovation,” he said.
When fully developed, the Fight Recorder could provide benefits in other physically demanding occupations including emergency services and law enforcement.
The funding comes from the Next Generation Technologies Fund which complements the Defence Innovation Hub launched last year, as the core of the new Defence Innovation System outlined in the Defence Industry Policy Statement. These two signature innovation research and development programs, together with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, deliver on the Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to grow Australia's defence industry and innovation sector.