23rd Nov 2017
The Australian Defence Force has responded to a hostage drama at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital — or at least, just a pretend one.
The exercise, involving personnel from the Army and the Air Force, was investigating new and emerging technologies to help soldiers in cities during wartime.
For one of a number of operations around Adelaide, 100 troops will be testing equipment including ground sensors and drones.
Dr Justin Fidock, a project leader at the Contested Urban Environment Strategic Challenge, said the old hospital was the perfect staging ground for the exercise.
“Often we have to do it on bases where there’s a lack of realism, there’s a lack of urban complexity, quite frankly… so for us this is an unprecedented opportunity,” he said.
“The technologies are ones that people have seen in the movies and also on TV [but] the difference here is they are being pushed down on the tactical level.
“In terms of ground sensors, you can imagine a little camera inside of a little casing that allows us to see around on the ground and also detect when people move through a particular location and that information being transferred to a war fighter, so they know what’s going on around them.”
At the “command centre”, 80 researchers from the Five Eyes nations — Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States — watch on, sharing and testing the technologies and capabilities of their militaries.
Floor by floor, and room by room, the soldiers looked for hostages and hostage-takers in the mock exercise.
“[This exercise is] to provide them with much more timely information about what’s going on on the ground, respond more quickly to threats, thereby reducing risks to themselves but also reducing risks to innocent civilians that might be caught up in a conflict situation in a city,” Dr Fidock said.
The exercise is being led by the Defence Science and Technology Group.
Adelaide’s old hospital was available for the exercise as there’s been limited progress to determine what will replace it in a massive urban renewal project.