Our innovations

A picture of the black box flight recorder
The Black Box Flight Recorder, designed by Dr Dave Warren

For more than 100 years, DST and its predecessor organisations have been dedicated to the delivery of thorough, ground-breaking and innovative science.

The organisation's Strategic Plan 2013-18 outlines a comprehensive program to foster innovation for Defence, focusing on capability development and acquisition in partnership with industry, universities and government research organisations.

See Innovation integration and Grand challenges for safeguarding Australia for more details.

We have a long history of innovation in defence science, such as the development of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, the Nulka ship missile decoy, the Barra Sonobuoy, the Australian Minesweeping System, the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder and composite bonded aircraft repair techniques, among others. Our scientists continue to find novel and innovative solutions to Defence's technology challenges.

Select 'Show/hide search filter' to search some of our most noteworthy innovations.


A photo of an old copier
Introduced in 1959, the automatic Xerox copier brought about a revolution in business and industrial communications.
A photo of the Jindalee  Operational Radar Network

Australia is the world leader in high-frequency, skywave over-the-horizon radar (OTHR) technology.

The Long Tom sounding rocket
Throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Australian defence scientists played a leading role in upper atmosphere research with the development of high altitude vehicles known as HAT (High Altitude Temperature) and HAD (High Altitude Density).
A black and white photo of a respirator
From 1924 to 1944, research into the manufacture of respirators became a priority for the Australian government with World War I experiences of gas warfare a vivid memory.
The THIRDA Infra-red Infusion Sensor and Control Unit
Forty years of Australian defence research culminated in an invention emerging as the worldwide industrial standard in affordable heat-imaging devices, applicable for a plethora of practical military and commercial uses.
Black and white photography of jindivik aircraft stationed at Evetts Field, Woomera
From 1948 to 1977, the development of a sub-sonic unmanned jet-propelled target plane enhanced Australia’s reputation for defence science innovation.
A photograph of the Malkara anti-tank guided weapon system.
The development of Malkara, a heavy anti-tank wire-guided weapon system began in 1952.
MSL worker during WWII
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Munitions Supply Laboratories (MSL), played a major role in pioneering the optical glass industry in Australia.
A diagram of the Tee-Visual Approach Slope Indicator System
Developed in the mid-1950s, the T-VASIS system became the international standard to assist aircraft pilots in the final stages of landing.
A black and white image of an early flight recorder
Dr David Warren of Aeronautical Research Laboratory (ARL) in Fisherman’s Bend invented the world’s first black box flight recorder in 1953.


Key information

  • Achievements
  • DST Innovations
  • Innovation Science