The Armoured Fighting Vehicle Facilities Program brings to life innovative adaptable facilities and infrastructure to support, sustain and train Army personnel on the next generation of Armoured Fighting Vehicles capability being procured for the Australian Defence Force.
Existing facilities and infrastructure at multiple defence sites were originally designed to support the current fleet of Armoured Fighting Vehicles in operation. The incoming vehicles are more advanced.
The new facilities at Puckapunyal Military Area, Lavarack Barracks and Edinburgh Defence Precinct will support the first stage of a broader facilities program as part of LAND400, LAND907 Phase 2 and LAND8160 Phase 1 . The first stage of the three stage project is currently in the construction phase with the facilities life of type out to 2050.
Aurecon, in joint venture with AECOM, is leading design services for the program over three proposed stages, within a 12-year schedule.
Digital design tools used for decision-making
Computer-generated engineering was crucial to bringing to life one of Australian Defence’s largest infrastructure design projects. For example, we used 3D models to determine which existing buildings and engineering services had a relationship with each other, to adapt and incorporate them into the new design. In the same way, we also visualised and planned where new infrastructure could be built between existing infrastructure to optimise available space.
The benefit of this approach is the efficiency it provides to convey design reasoning and the ability to recognise design issues and amend them immediately.
Point cloud scanning and 3D drone scanning was used early in the program to inform geotechnical, building foundation and civil designs.
The unique aspect of this program is that multiple digital engineering tools were used for different aspects, and the data was brought together to provide a cohesive view of each site and the interconnections between buildings, and above ground and below ground services.
Digital engineering plays a huge part in the fit for purpose design. Different design options through modelling and simulation are explored to make immediate decisions that benefit Defence operations and personnel. It provides construction contractors with a detailed model for greater certainty on buildability and pricing. The modelling detail isn’t just for show – it’s for design and construction efficiency.
Designs fit for purpose
The facilities have been designed flexibly to cater to the ambiguity of future vehicle requirements:
- Land 400: Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Manoeuvre Support Vehicles.
- LAND 907 Phase 2: M1A2 Main Battle Tank, M88A2 Armoured Recovery Vehicle and tank supporting systems.
- LAND 8160 Phase 1: Combat Engineering Vehicles and M88A2 Recovery Vehicles.
The flexibility in the design means that Defence can upgrade its facilities in stages,
and adapt them accordingly. The new facilities include:
- Driver and service training buildings
- Vehicle storage shelters
- Simulation centres
- Wash point facilities
- Maintenance workshops
- Training and classroom buildings
- Reticulated services, including high and low voltage power distribution, telecommunications, water and sewer connections
- Living accommodation for operational personnel
- Road upgrades on site
The phased acquisition of the fleet over the coming decades means that vehicle specifications may change. Therefore, the vehicle bays at each Defence site are modular construction so that modules can be added or removed according to need. Both the electrical and mechanical systems are also flexibly designed to change in size or location according to vehicle specifications.
The intent is to provide greater value for money and sustainability over the life of the facilities by providing cost-effective, functional, low maintenance, and energy efficient design options compatible with proposed functions and existing aesthetics.
Environmental management for planning, design and construction
Aurecon’s future sustainability commitment to the program is recognising the environmental and economic importance of reducing Defence’s global carbon footprint.
Whole of Life analysis was used to justify the implementation of sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing the project’s resource consumption, in alignment with Defence’s Smart Infrastructure Handbook. Initiatives include:
- Selecting environmentally conscious materials
- Using best practice PVC, or suitably cost-effective and environmentally sensitive, non-PVC
- Using refrigerants and insultation in building fabric which have an ozone depleting potential of zero
- Ensuring that at least 95 per cent of timber is Australian Forest Certification Scheme accredited
To reduce overall resource usage, a range of sustainable systems will be deployed depending on the specifics of each site. These include energy storage, solar energy, solar hot water, rainwater harvesting and water recycling. The payback periods of these systems were calculated to verify return on investment and the capability of each system to reduce carbon emissions and lower energy and water costs.
Where possible, natural ventilation will improve the thermal comfort inside spaces and reduce the use of mechanical air conditioning. LED lighting installed indoors and outdoors will reduce the overall lighting energy demand and decrease the internal heat levels from artificial lighting.
The vehicle washing facilities at each site use a significant volume of water. Under the program, a comprehensive recycled water system and water storage facilities will use recycled water for washing operations. This will reduce total water volumes used, as well as the volume of wastewater entering the city networks.
All sustainability elements will be monitored with digital water and energy meters to provide real-time performance data to Defence. This data will inform heating and cooling adjustments, and recycled water levels, to optimise operation and manage maintenance requirements.
Contributing to key Defence capability
Providing contemporary facilities will enhance the Australian Defence Force personnel’s environment, enabling them to perform duties more efficiently with modern Armoured Fighting Vehicles.
The capabilities being delivered through the project will underpin the Australian Defence Force’s capacity to conduct decisive operations in what the Army has determined to be the defining characteristics of our future operating environment.