The future of Army food is happening now at the
Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, MA. Home of the
Department of Defense Food Program, the center is responsible for all research
and development of new and improved food items and food service equipment for
soldiers. The center analyzes the mission and then matches the requirements with
nutritional desires and eating habits of today's soldier.
MRE New items
New MRE Supplements
Planned T-Ration Improvements
All of these new ideas were tested in the field
recently during exercises at Pohaukoloha, HI, and Fort Leonard Wood, MO.
For Army Special Forces requirements for a lightweight, long-term patrol ration, the center developed the Ration, Lightweight, 30-day (RLW-30). Because each meal weighs less than one pound, the soldier can pack enough supply for most mission scenarios. The meals consist of dehydrated components such as freeze-dried entrees, bread crisps, cereal bars, desserts, dairy bars, beef jerky and beverages. The RLW-30 is available in six different menus.
Some soldiers may recall with great affection the Long Range Patrol (LRP) ration. Called the Long Life Ration Packet (LLRP), the successor to this ration, is currently in the developmental stage with field testing scheduled for 2d quarter of FY 92. The LLRP consists of a freeze-dried entree, cereal bars, cookie bars, candy and beverage. Plans call for producing eight LLRP menus.
Based on performance in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, the
B-Ration has resurfaced as a desirable member of the family of rations. The
Natick center is reviewing B-Ration specifications for identifying and
implementing a series of B-Ration improvements.
Research and development continues on a containerized kitchen.
The concept calls for a highly mobile, highly efficient way to feed 350 soldiers
in the field a variety of quality meals from the family of operational rations.
Natick is evaluating "off the shelf," nondevelopmental mobile
kitchens to perform the military field feeding mission. The Soldier Sustainment
Module (SSM) program may one day complement or replace the Kitchen Company
Level. In the future, a family of efficient, lightweight, multifuel equipment
may provide the heating and refrigerating necessary for A-, B- and T-Ration
At the time this article was written in 1992:
CPT Mark Russelburg has a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Pennsylvania State University, University Park. He is also a graduate of the Quartermaster Officer Basic and Advanced Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and Airborne School. His previous assignments include Accountable Officer, 26th Support Group, Heidelberg, Germany; Company Commander, 21st Maintenance Company, Korea; logistics Staff Officer, Pentagon; and Training With Industry, Marriott Corporation, Washington, D.C. He is currently the Army Representative, Joint Technical Staff. Department of Defense Food Program, Natick, Massachusetts.
as of 24 Sep 00