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AUSA Winter: US Army highlights rations enhancements

24th February 2011 - 09:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


US Army Materiel Command (AMC) representatives have used the Association of the US Army (AUSA) Winter Symposium to highlight a new round of enhancements to its combat ration programme.

According to Gerald Darsch, Director of DoD Combat Feeding, several of the changes emerged from the latest Joint Service Operational Rations Forum (JSORF), held in early February 2011 at Fort Lee, Virginia.

‘The JSORF basically took our recommendations and adopted them,' Darsch said. ‘It means that MRE [Meal, Ready to Eat] 33, which is the 2013 date of pack, will see 11 new items going in.'

He said five new products would also be added to the Unitized Group Ration Heat and Serve (UGR-H&S), 27 new products would be included with the UGR-A (A Option), and - based on field tests carried out in Alaska - around 17 new products would be added to the Meal, Cold Weather and the Long Range Patrol rations.

‘So all of that is good news for warfighters, because variety is the spice of life,' Darsch said.

Approval has also been given for the ‘Hot Box', which has been designed to ‘nest' in a flat fashion into the UGR-E (Express) allowing one gallon of water to be heated from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit in about 30 minutes. It will then maintain that temperature for two hours - even in a cold environment.

‘That means that 18 warfighters can each get six ounces of piping hot water without any power; without any fuel; and without having to stoke a fire. That's a good thing because it provides hot water for beverages; it provides a little bit of hot water for personal hygiene; in fact, the warfighters want that. So that will actually become an integrated part of the UGR-E, probably in the next procurement of that product. So I think that's pretty helpful as well.'

Along with the new additions, as part of the DoD's continuous product improvement processes of its fielded ration systems, the ‘Type 2' of the UGR-E has been developed.

Darsch said while ‘Type One' has been successful is providing remote small units with a high quality hot meal, it did require some assembly of the chemical heaters and activation to heat the product up.

‘The Type Two version does not require any assembly whatsoever, so it makes it a lot easier for the warfighter. When he or she receives this UGR-E and are ready to eat they pull two tabs.' 

The Shephard News Team


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