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Technical note | State-by-State Comparison of the Body Size of Young Australian Adults


Up to date anthropometric (body size) data on the current Australian Defence Force aircrew population and the potential aircrew population is vital for the design and acquisition of clothing, protective equipment and aircraft. The most recent survey of the current and potential aircrew populations was completed in 2005. The survey team measured civilians at six locations around mainland Australian. They also visited several military bases to measure aircrew. Ideally, this dataset needs to be updated as it has a number of limitations for military applications. Unfortunately, multiple location surveys can be very expensive. The goal of this report is, using the 2005 survey of the civilian population, to determine if a survey of the potential aircrew population could be conducted at fewer locations, hence, saving both time and money. 

Executive Summary

Anthropometric (body size) data describing the size and shape of the current day male and female military population is vital for the optimised design of clothing, protective equipment and vehicles. Modern military personnel must wear, depending on the situation, a diverse range of clothing, along with protective equipment, such as helmets, respirators and body armour. Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel may also be required to travel in or operate a range of land, sea and air vehicles, such as submarines, armoured personnel carriers, and aircraft. Complicating the challenge of acquiring new platforms is the fact that many vehicles in the ADF fleet can have long service lives. Given the potentially long service lives of many military vehicles not only is there a requirement to have valid data on the current military population (which is largely male) but also the potential male and female military population who may operate the platform in the decades to come.

The most recent anthropometric survey of a sample of the current and potential aircrew population was conducted in 2004 and 2005 as part of Project MIS 872. Unfortunately, this dataset has a number of issues that limits its use for ADF applications. Ideally, the datasets need to be updated to ensure valid data is available to support the acquisition and upgrading of air platforms, along with the design and sizing of clothing and protective equipment. Unfortunately, large-scale anthropometric surveys conducted at multiple locations can be very costly, time consuming and logistically challenging. A potential cost-saving option to consider is conducting the survey at fewer locations while at the same time capturing an appropriate cross-section of the population. To assess this option for a future survey of the potential aircrew population, this study sought to compare key body dimensions of the civilians measured in each state as part of Project MIS 872 and determine if there are any anthropometrically significant differences between the states. This information can potentially be used to guide the planning of future survey locations.

Ten key body dimensions relevant to aircraft design were selected for comparison: stretch stature, weight, body mass index, stretch sitting height, waist circumference, buttock circumference, acromiale-radiale length, radiale-stylion length, upper-leg length and lower-leg length. A statistical comparison of the males surveyed at the five measurement sites in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia found that there were no statistically significant differences for the ten key body dimensions compared. In contrast to the males, a comparison of the females surveyed in the four states (South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland) found that there were statistically significant differences for four of the ten measurements compared: weight, stretch sitting height, acromiale-radiale length, and upper-leg length.

Statistically significant differences were not found for stretch stature, radiale-stylion length, waist circumference, buttock circumference and lower-leg length.

The results of these comparisons provide support that a future survey of the potential male aircrew population could be conducted at a single location, potentially saving time and money. Given the results of the female comparison, it may be necessary to conduct a survey at multiple locations.

Key information


Peter Blanchonette and Robert King

Publication number


Publication type

Technical note

Publish Date

June 2018


Unclassified - public release


Anthropometry, aircrews, human machine interfaces, statistical analysis