Home' Air Force News : April 28th 2011 Contents April 28, 2011 15
Testing the field
Top left, CPL
an injured ADG.
Pippen (left) and
in the Tindal
DURING Exercise Nomad, the Defence
Science and Technology Organisation
(DSTO) conducted a range of trials to
assess physical employment standards
for ground defence officers (GRDEFOs)
and airfield defence guards (ADGs).
Dr Dan Billing from DSTO said the
trial was part of the ADF-wide Physical
Employment Standards Project and was
carried out on seven of the 10 days of
The project is looking to identify the
physical requirements of all employment
categories within the ADF to determine
the physical standards required for each
"The GRDEFO and ADG categories
are the first group in Air Force we have
looked at," Dr Billing said.
"Up to this point the focus has been
on Army trades, and this is nearly com-
plete. Eventually all trades in the Air
Force, Navy and Army will
During Nomad, some
members were fitted with
special respiratory masks
used for respiratory gas
analysis. They measure
the wearer's absolute
workload through oxygen
uptake and also determine
the energy expenditure of
the activity they were per-
forming at the time.
"From this informa-
tion we can determine the
aerobic or cardiovascular
of the task," Dr Billing
were fitted with Global
Positioning System (GPS)
units and heart monitors.
"The heart rate moni-
tors give us an idea of the
physical effort of the activ-
ity, while the GPS units tell
us where, how fast, and
how long the wearer is
performing an activity. For
example, how long was a
patrol? How long was an
attack?" he said
"These units also have
other technology, includ-
ing accelerometers and
gyroscopes. This give us
information about whether
or not the person is stand-
ing, lying, shooting, etc."
The units were worn
across a range of energetic activities,
including patrols, casualty evacuation,
building entry and search and seize,
secure and removal of prisoners.
Dr Billing said these activities were
chosen in discussion with the GRDEFOs
and ADGs as being the most physically
"So it was these activities that we
The 38 volunteers who participated
were in full kit and armed as DSTO want-
ed to collect data while they operated
under normal circumstances.
Dr Billing said that the Physical
Employment Standards Project was gov-
erned by the Australian Defence Human
Research Ethics Committee.
"As such we were required to get
signed informed consent from all volun-
teers. We had signed informed consent
from the 38 personnel."
He said the research work was cur-
rently being completed, so no prelimi-
nary results were yet available.
IN: Aaron Silk
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