Australian Army rolls out new IED blast gauges
The Australian Army's Diggerworks team has rolled out new blast gauges designed to provide assistance to treat soldiers injured from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan.
Defence materiel minister Jason Clare and Australian defence science and personnel minister Warren Snowdon said in a joint statement that the new high-tech devices would enable medics to provide rapid and effective treatment to injured personnel by efficiently detecting and capturing data from the blasts.
"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," Snowdown said.
"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."
Clare added: "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."
Originally developed by the US Defence Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the gauges are capable of displaying a yellow, green or red light to suggest the pressure level of an IED blast.
A total of three blast gauges will be worn on the outside of helmet, the non-firing shoulder and chest to facilitate measurement of the blast wave from all directions in the battlefield.
Weighing less than 29g each, the gauges are designed to resist tough weather conditions and have also completed testing with US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Approximately 400 soldiers have already trialled the blast gauges in combat zones, and more than 10,000 devices are expected to be rolled out to additional troops in the next year.
The Australian Government is spending more than $1bn on new equipment, including combat body armour, uniform, upgraded Bushmaster vehicles, counter rocket, artillery and mortar (CRAM) system and Maximi machine guns to enhance troop protection in Afghanistan.