PAGC2301 Asia Pacific Defence

In the face of an intense battle to secure a highly skilled Defence workforce, Australian SME Global Defence Solutions (GDS) is revolutionising life in the field, introducing innovative methods to improve quality of life for those deployed.

In response to National Defence – Defence Strategic Review, the Australian Government reaffirmed that people are Defence’s most important capability and committed to investing in the growth and retention of a highly skilled workforce.

GDS General Manager Jeromy Bendall says enhancing the quality of field infrastructure, such as accommodation, medical, catering and personal hygiene facilities was making a significant difference to the deployed Defence community. “Wherever possible, and with all our creativity, our team is focused on giving Defence personnel a better quality of life when they are deployed and that has a benefit for both recruitment and retention,” Bendall said. “Personnel in the field clearly have a challenging job and we want to enhance their capability and contribution to the nation through the solutions we offer. One of the ways GDS works with Australian and New Zealand Defence forces is to continually improve the quality of rapidly deployable infrastructure – so it works effectively but doesn’t overlook comfort and convenience.”

And rapidly deployable means just that – tents take five minutes to construct, and state-of-the-art kitchens are operational in 30 minutes enabling catering units to be serving 500 people a day within hours. “Our design philosophy accommodates all the modern workforce considerations. We have ensured it is easy for men and women in uniform to safely set up our facilities. For example, each component is a manageable weight and size so it can be quickly and safely assembled by all deployed personnel,” Bendall said.

Bendall added that field infrastructure design had expanded beyond basic functionality to consider comfort as well as hygiene. “Personal shower cubicles have instant hot water, water saving shower and tap sets, a safe dry place to store your clothes, and drainage designed to ensure the highest levels of hygiene,” Bendall said. “The ability to have a regular shower, a decent meal and a comfortable night’s sleep is highly valued by those in the field. There’s no doubt that if you’re well rested and feeling fresh you are going to perform better.”

While field infrastructure had to meet stringent requirements, there was often room for some customisation of the delivered product. “While GDS works exceptionally hard to meet the requirements of the scope of works, we take pride in working through the necessary processes to speak to the end users and further enhance the offering,” he said. “We listen to our customers about the smallest details – everything from the temperature of the kitchen hot plates to the location of the toilet roll holder – so we are continually evolving the end products.”

He says GDS’ sophisticated field infrastructure offers more privacy and gender-specific facilities, makes it possible to accommodate the needs of casualty patients who have sustained an injury while deployed, and factor in technology needs as simple as ensuring enough USB charging stations for mobile devices.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s no surprise GDS excels in designing and delivering world class deployed infrastructure. As a trusted Australian Defence partner, GDS is successfully collaborating on some of the nation’s largest Defence programs. The company has been on a steady growth path for several years, with a highly successful New Zealand Defence Force contract for Field Operational Hygiene and Catering Systems (FOHCS) and Australian contracts swiftly following.

The latest growth spurt for GDS has come from its partnership with Saab Australia – where GDS is delivering the deployable infrastructure aspects of JP2060 Phase 3, Australia’s Deployable Health Capability (DHC) program, consisting of hard and soft shelters. Bendall said it was a major program that would see GDS delivering 40% of the 600 tents required, with air conditioning, and several thousand light and power installations.

GDS and Saab have a Memorandum of Understanding to further advance complementary capabilities in deployable force infrastructure. Highlighting its diversity of capability, GDS (in partnership with Thomas Global Systems) is working on immersive tactical trainers for Rheinmetall Defence Australia under the LAND400 Phase 2 Project for the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV). GDS will supply Thomas Global Systems with 13 CSC-compliant 20-foot ISO steel shipping container frames to house turret and driver cabin equipment for Boxer CRV simulators.

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