Platform & Protection Systems

ImageThe Platform and Protection Systems Group provides expert advice to NZDF on the selection, acquisition and in-service support of aircraft, land vehicles and naval vessels.

Our expertise also extends to personnel protection against ballistic, fragmentation and CBRN threats and assessing the effectiveness of NZDF weapons. Support is provided to other Government organisations including the New Zealand Police, the Civilian Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC).

We have four sections:

Each of these areas is described below.

You may also like to view publications relating to our platform and protection research.

Current publications

Platform engineering

We support the NZDF in the selection, acquisition and in-service support of aircraft, land vehicles and naval vessels.

Activities 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
  • data acquisition, including measuring accelerations, vibrations and structural loads
  • life assessments and structural integrity analysis
  • non-destructive inspection development
  • power and energy research and analysis
  • investigating alternative energy options such as water (hydro), sun (solar) and wind for forward operating bases
  • trialling alternative energy sources for dismounted troops such as fuel cells and energy distribution vests
  • auditing NZDF energy usage
  • evaluating propulsion performance
  • developing propulsion health monitoring tools and processes to facilitate preventative maintenance and increase engine reliability
  • collaborative research on the effects of volcanic ash on aircraft engines and how to detect the presence of ash in the atmosphere
  • investigating propulsion system failures to identify the root cause
  • extraction and interpretation of electronic data to facilitate the recreation of accident sequences

Case study: aircraft oil filter inspection

Case study: safety of mechanised landing craft

Materials engineering

OPV IceOur independent advice, technical support and expertise in engineering advanced materials 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 failures in aircraft, vehicle, vessel structures and equipment
  • researching the significance of various forms of damage and degradation to composite structures
  • evaluating bonding performance and durability of composites for marine applications
  • evaluating the performance of anti-fouling coatings for naval vessels
  • assessing the performance of icephobics
  • supporting the testing and evaluation of materials for specialised applications
  • quality assurance testing for fuels and lubricants
  • technical investigation of accidents to determine the root cause and prevent recurrence
  • providing advice and technical support to the Services about technical engineering and maintenance practices.
  • researching the mechanical and fatigue properties of additively-manufactured polymer and metal structures for use in defence platforms.

Trans-Tasman collaboration on composite failure analysis,

Ballistics and personnel protection

ImageProtection for our personnel and an understanding of weapon effects are fundamental to a military force.

To support test programs and provide technical advice, DTA has built specialist knowledge in ballistics and protection.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • specialist ammunition testing, assessment and advice
  • weapons evaluations including terminal effects testing
  • protective equipment standards evaluation
  • armour and protective equipment evaluation
  • evaluation of building materials against ballistic threats.

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

  • assessing the effectiveness of protective measures
  • 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.

Concept engineering and manufacture

New concepts often present an opportunity to work smarter.

Examples that we have developed include:

  • Diver signature evaluation system to measure the signature of mine clearance divers and their equipment, to enhance their safety when disarming mines.
  • Multi-influence sensor for measuring the signature of vessels such that their vulnerability to mines and torpedoes may be managed
  • Training devices such as simulators
  • Use of additive manufacture to replace conventional manufacture for small production runs, reduced logistical burden or to produce modified devices which perform more effectively than those manufactured using conventional means
  • Support is provided to innovation schemes, harnessing ideas raised by individual service personnel