Platform & Protection Systems

ImageFrom our research of materials, structures, propulsion systems and equipment performance, we help the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) derive maximum use and best value from equipment, aircraft, vessels, vehicles and weapons systems.

Improved acquisitions, operational performance, equipment reliability, timely and informed maintenance decisions, life extension, threat mitigation and energy efficiency are just some of the benefits for the NZDF from our applied vehicle systems research and development.

The main areas of our research are:

Each of these areas is described below.

You may also like to view publications relating to our applied vehicle systems research.

Current publications

Chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats and countermeasures

We support New Zealand against chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats by:

  • providing support, advice and research to the government for existing and future threats
  • providing technical support to personnel engaged in handling and disposing of munitions and threats
  • engaging collaboratively with other nations on chemical, biological, radiological and explosive defence.

Composite, polymer and metallic materials and structures engineering

Our independent advice, technical support, and expertise in engineering advanced materials and structures, helps the NZDF to buy, maintain, repair and upgrade their aircraft, ships, vehicles and other systems.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • analysing and predicting the behaviour of aircraft structures
  • researching the effects of various forms of damage to composite structures
  • evaluating bonding performance and durability in the marine environment
  • non-destructive inspection technology development.

Trans-Tasman collaboration on composite failure analysis

Aircraft propulsion engineering

For the NZDF, we provide advice, technical support and expertise in propulsion engineering, helping the NZDF to buy, maintain, repair and upgrade their aircraft.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • developing health monitoring tools and processes to facilitate preventative maintenance and increase engine reliability
  • collaboratively researching the effects of volcanic ash on aircraft engines and how to detect the presence of ash
  • evaluating propulsion performance
  • investigating propulsion systems failures to identify the root cause.

Case study: aircraft oil filter inspection

Aircraft flight test research and development

This is an area of specialist support we provide the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and Ministry of Defence.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • aerodynamic performance assessment
  • testing the handling and performance of modified aircraft and their systems
  • supporting the certification, introduction and maintenance of new and modified aircraft
  • measuring vibrations and structural loads
  • analysing helicopter aerodynamic wake .

Accident and failure investigation

ImageWe provide investigative services for the three services of the New Zealand Defence Force as well as other government agencies.

The benefits of our work include improved safety, reduced risk, lower operating costs and improved monitoring systems.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • technical investigation of accidents to determine the root cause and prevent recurrence
  • extraction and interpretation of electronic data to facilitate the recreation of accident sequences
  • investigating the premature degradation or failure of materials, coatings, structures, systems, equipment or engines to determine the root cause
  • providing advice and technical support to the services about technical engineering and maintenance practices.

Case study: safety of mechanised landing craft

Power and energy

ImageOur testing and analysis of power and energy is focused on improving NZDF’s energy use, and the future requirements for power generation and energy storage.

We are investigating several approaches, such as: minimising consumption, reducing the logistical challenge of getting power and energy to where it’s needed, and using alternative sources.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • quality management for fuels and lubricants
  • investigating alternative energy options for forward operating bases such as water (hydro), sun (solar) and wind
  • trialling alternative energy sources for dismounted troops such as fuel cells and energy distribution vests
  • auditing NZDF energy usage.

Ballistics technology

Protection for our personnel and an understanding of weapons effects are fundamental to a military force.

In order to support this area DTA has undertaken to build specialist knowledge in ballistics and protection that can support test programs and provides technical advice.

Outcomes include:

  • An improved operational capability through the improved understanding of weapon effects, both in an offensive and defensive context.
  • The potential to reduce or eliminate fatalities and/or injury through improved protection of NZDF persons.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • Specialist ammunition advice and assessment
  • Small arms terminal effects testing
  • Protective equipment stanards evaluation
  • Building materials evaluations as seen in a ballistic context.