Flight Lieutenant Nick Fraser is an Armament Engineer currently working in the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. He can now add a new title to his name: inventor.

“I set up the very first Jericho Lab in Australia with Warrant Officer Jeremy Reinertsen,” Flight Lieutenant Fraser said.

Jericho Labs are makerspaces where Defence personnel can design and create prototypes of their ideas, with support and training.

“I said to then-Director Jericho, ‘I’m not an innovator, but I’ll go find some for you’. And then a few months later I came up with the idea for this brand-new invention.”

Flight Lieutenant Fraser’s invention is the Audible Feedback Training Round (AFTR), an electronic training round that’s designed to make weapons-handling safer.

When a weapon with an AFTR in the chamber is accidently fired, the AFTR will emit a loud noise and flashing lights. To turn these off, the AFTR has to be reset via a mobile app.

The AFTR has so far been produced as a 5.56 mm NATO calibre designed to suit the F88 Austeyr weapon used by all three services.

Its circuit board can also fit other calibre rounds including the 9mm.

Flight Lieutenant Fraser came up with the idea for the AFTR through his time as an instructor at the Officers’ Training School.

According to Flight Lieutenant Fraser, three ingredients are necessary for innovation: support, resources and community.

“Once I pitched the idea to Jericho Disruptive Innovation and I got approval for it, Air Force supported me with funding, training, and the support of a community of innovators to help me with the innovation,” Flight Lieutenant Fraser said.

A critical support for Flight Lieutenant Fraser was the Creative Element – a start-up that provides innovation and makerspace training, consulting, prototyping and light manufacturing services for the Jericho Labs across Australia.

“The Creative Element and others in the community trained me in how to design things. They also trained me in 3D printing, computer-aided design and laser cutting – skills that I’d never used before this.”

Warrant Officer Reinersten helped Flight Lieutenant Fraser fast-track the development of his idea into a prototype.

“In a few weeks, Warrant Officer Reinertsen did what would have taken me at least six months to do,” Flight Lieutenant Fraser said.

“He designed and manufactured the initial prototype – all of the electronics and the first 3D print. His innovative ideas and support have brought the AFTR into existence.”

Right now the AFTR remains a prototype, but Flight Lieutenant Fraser hopes it will be adopted for weapons-handling training in the near future.

“I’m really proud of the fact that this is something that may actually increase our capability,” Flight Lieutenant Fraser said.

“But mainly, I feel great that I’m doing something that could improve safety in Air Force.”

Jericho Labs are located on RAAF Bases Amberley, East Sale, Glenbrook, Richmond, Tindal, Townsville and Wagga. There is also a Jericho Lab co-located with the Creative Element in Canberra.