Advanced motion technology company Supashock last night received a major award from peak industry body, the Defence Teaming Centre, for the development of its revolutionary Advanced Load Handling System technology – developed specifically for military vehicles – at DTC’s annual awards ceremony in Adelaide.

Adelaide-based Supashock received the DTC award for “Outstanding Collaboration” for the development of the ALHS 17 technology for heavy logistics trucks alongside South Australian manufacturer Century Engineering and major defence prime Rheinmetall Defence.

The Supashock team, based at Edinburgh Park, designed and developed the ALHS 17 technology specifically to reduce the risk to soldiers by automating the loading and unloading of ISO containers, modules and STANAG compliant flat racks of up to 17 tonnes from within a highly protected truck cabin. This significantly reduces the time for distribution of military supplies in demanding battlefield environments – the loading cycle time is only 25 per cent of existing systems.

The safety is also improved – the system is operated within the protection provided by the integrated armoured cab of the Rheinmetall HX 8×8 truck.

ALHS was officially unveiled at Eurosatory 2018 by Minister for Defence the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP in June.

Supashock Managing Director Oscar Fiorinotto paid tribute to his team of engineers – each recruited from South Australia’s three universities – for their skill in developing the ALHS 17 technology.

“The ALHS17 concept came about to provide defence forces with greater operational flexibility, efficiency and sustainment by providing a completely protected environment, and the ability to load and unload a container in varied terrain,” Mr Fiorinotto said.

Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles supplies logistics trucks to a range of defence customers around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Mr Fiorinotto said Century was critical to the successful execution of the ALHS 17 product.

“Century Engineering provided specialist fabrication and manufacturing services for the development of ALHS 17 and, from a collaboration perspective, they opened up their business and worked with our team to provide support in the areas where it was required,” he said.

“The combination of Century Engineering’s manufacturing support, Rheinmetall’s experience in the defence sector and Supashock’s expertise in motion technology facilitated the creation of a technology and end product that has life-saving benefits in combat environments.”

Mr Fiorinotto thanked the DTC for its recognition of Supashock’s collaborative efforts.

“Our entire team would like to acknowledge the DTC not just for this award, but for providing valuable advocacy for South Australian businesses operating in the defence industry,” he said.

“I’d also like to offer a special thankyou to the team at Rheinmetall, and especially Ben Hudson and Michael Wittlinger, for their efforts in the birth of this special system, along with Century Engineering for their fabrication work.

“It’s an honour for Supashock to receive this award, but more importantly it’s very satisfying that this type of technology has been developed in Australia, derived from graduate programs in conjunction with South Australian and national university programs, and is making a positive contribution to South Australian manufacturing.”

Background notes

  • The traditional loading and unloading of containers and equipment from military logistics vehicles requires the use of multiple personnel, diverting resources away from other tasks, reducing operator situational awareness, and exposing several individuals in a potentially hostile environment – ALHS17 only requires a single operator.
  • A combat situation often mandates the transportation as well as the loading or unloading of military equipment under challenging scenarios:
  • Misalignment of the vehicle and the load that is being carried by the vehicle;
  • Slopes and inclines that the vehicle may have to traverse; and
  • Conditions that include mud, sand and other debris, where no access to the bottom corner fittings may be possible.
  • The ALHS17 has several integral mechanical degrees of freedom that combine with a computer-assisted user interface, making the task of loading and unloading a container easy in all conditions.
  • Also, the cycle time of loading and unloading ISO containers or modules with the ALHS 17 is considerably faster than current in-service load handling systems.
  • Operational flexibility – ALHS17 is suitable for a variety of containers, and can be used in a wide variety of environments and terrain.