SureFire

Archive for the ‘Sustainment’ Category

Going Green: Eco-friendly Plastic to Replace Soldier’s Supplies in Battle

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Advanced 3D printing from recycled plastic is an eco-friendly way to strengthen operational readiness, curb supply chain reliance, and improve troop safety, says a top Army scientist — with testing and evaluations on a mobile lab set for next year.

In a collaborative effort with the U.S. Marines, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has explored new, resourceful ways to salvage plastic waste to integrate with 3D printers, said Dr. Nikki Zander, ARL research chemist.

“We have the [20 ft.] container at Marine Corps Base Quantico,” Zander said. “We’ve got all the extrusion equipment installed. We’re hoping by the end of this calendar year we’ll be able to do a demonstration of the capabilities there.”

The containers include the tools and equipment needed to fabricate 3D items from recycled materials, Zander said. Although the printing capabilities exist, ARL researchers plan to make them more automated, user-friendly, and eventually require less than a day of training for Soldiers in the field.

Right now, researchers are actively scanning parts to build an imagery database for Soldiers to pull from to quickly print parts.

“Three companies are working on making the next generation mobile lab,” Zander said. “We hope within three years we’ll have a prototype from one of those companies, and it will be more robust have more automation capabilities.”

“We’re trying to reduce supply chain dependence by using available materials,” Zander said. “We’re interested in looking at plastic packaging materials we could repurpose to use as a feedstock for additive manufacturing.”

In austere environments, a cache of plastic debris — such as empty water bottles, milk jugs, and yogurt containers — often pile up and cause a logistical burden on Soldiers to dispose of.

With nowhere to go, the garbage is often burned. The smoke releases toxic fumes into the air, and potentially causing respiratory hazards for Soldiers, Zander said.

Although actions to help the environment were “a huge motivation,” for Zander, an avowed environmentalist, the technology does more than provide conservational alternatives for troops. It is also a cost-effective way to help Soldiers be more self-sufficient on the frontlines.

One example of how recycled plastic is used on vehicle radio brackets, Zander said. It takes roughly ten emptied water bottles, and two hours, to fabricate a plastic radio bracket.

The vehicle brackets “commonly break, and usually a new, $200 radio is ordered. The new radio can take many months to get into the field, but, now you can print the part for [the cost of an empty, plastic water bottle] with no wait, and there’s very little statistical difference in the strength of the material.”

“This supports sustainment and the next-generation combat vehicle,” Zander said. “That is because there is a lot of plastic parts that need to be replaced and when you’re in a remote area, and it’s very difficult to get those shipments in.”

Even though some units have conventional 3D printers, their conventional filament must be refilled. Supplying troops with mission-critical items, like printing refills, can take weeks and the shortage can also leave Soldiers vulnerable during transportation.

“If Soldiers run out of conventional filament, then they’re dead in the water,” she said. “I think this technology provides a large level of comfort to know that they don’t need anything outside of what they already have to make the things they need.”

Not all plastic has the industrial strength of water bottles. Other plastics, such as polypropylene, often used as yogurt containers, and polystyrene, used in plastic utensils, are generally too weak to fabricate.

However, those plastics forge a stronger composite material when reinforced with other materials, “When PP is mixed with cardboard, wood fibers, and other waste materials found on military bases — they create a new composite filament,” Zander said. “Giving them the strength to make more durable filaments for 3D printed parts.”

This procedure is called solid-state shear pulverization. During this process, the materials are milled into a twin-screw extruder to form a fine powder that is melted down into a 3D printing filament. Looking ahead, ARL scientists hope to incorporate tire rubber.

“If we’re able to take the waste out of the area, and the burning out of the air and turn it into something useful, that’s win-win,” Zander said.

Story by Thomas Brading, Army News Service

Photos by E.J. Hersom

DLA, DOD Partnership Provides Operational Meal Options

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, March 3, 2020 —

For 40 years, warfighters have feasted on the “famous” Meal, Ready-to-Eat. But thanks to a partnership between the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain and the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate, that is not the only individual combat ration available.

Today, there are several different types of individual rations with varying menu options to fuel the body for warfighters serving in traditional field locations, on the front line of an initial encounter and in locations with extreme temperatures.

As operational environments and warfighters’ physical demands change, so do the requirements that begin a ration’s life cycle.

“The service will determine that they need a specific ration to fulfill a specific need,” Harry Streibich, Subsistence Operational Rations division chief, said. “Then Natick [Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate] conducts research to test and develop a meal that meets the services operational and nutritional requirements.”

According to a representative from the Combat Feeding Directorate, the life cycle of an individual ration, can span a decade from concept to the field.

The MRE

“In general, most changes require from 24-36 months when you consider product development, nutritional analysis, accelerated storage and sensory evaluation, field testing with soldiers, Joint Service Operational Ration Forum (JSORF) review, technical data and procurement documents finalized and transitioned to Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support,” a Combat Feeding Directorate representative said.

Once the service approves the new ration, the Subsistence supply chain procures it.

“Individual rations are provided by three to four primary vendors who make the entrees and assemble the rations in-house,” Streibich said. “Through a network of subcontractors, the vendors provide the individual components of each ration.”

The MRE is the longest standing individual ration, and the most purchased ration from DLA.

“At the beginning of the year we buy at least 2.5 million cases of MREs,” Streibich said. “Based on usage we buy additional cases half way through [the year]. This year alone we are expecting to buy an additional 650,000 cases.”

Streibich said that for fiscal 2019, Subsistence bought $434 million of individual rations. Of that, the MRE represented $421 million, which represents 96 percent of all individual ration sales.

Dynamic needs, specialized options

For warfighters finding themselves in the initial stages of conflict, they have the option of the First Strike Ration – a compact, eat-on-the-move meal.

The FSR was created about 10 years ago, and Subsistence purchases approximately 60,000 cases each year, according to Streibich.

“It is a stripped down version of MRE that meets the immediate needs of the warfighter for the first 72 hours of battle,” Streibich said.

Another individual ration that units can request is the Modular Operational Ration Enhancement for warfighters operating in environments of extreme heat or cold, Streibich said. The MORE provides extra calories to account for strenuous activity in high altitude, cold weather or hot weather environments.

“This meal supplements the MRE, and provides higher calorie foods such as dehydrated items that will not freeze in colder climates such as in Alaska or Norway, “Streibich said.

Subsistence also provides rations for Warfighters with religious dietary restrictions.

The Troop Support rations team procures about 40,000 cases of Halal and 8,000 cases of Kosher meals to meet the yearly demand, Streibich said.

Global, dynamic readiness

Regardless of the warfighters’ mission, each individual ration is designed as a packaged, shelf-stable item intended to provide complete and balanced nutrition, the Combat Feeding Directorate representative said. 

“These rations are typically used to sustain individuals during operations that prevent the use of organized food service facilities,” the Combat Feeding Directorate representative said. “They may be consumed continuously and exclusively for several days, or longer, based on mission requirements and logistics infrastructure within an area of operations.”  

For more information about Operational Rations, visit DLA Troop Support’s Operational Rations web page.

By Alexandria Brimage-Gray

MATBOCK Monday – Skeeter Patch Kit

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

With warm weather right around the corner, we are all itching to get outdoors.  With the arrival of spring also comes the arrival of….BUGS!!!  Don’t worry, here at MATBOCK we got more than your back, we got you covered head to toe with the Skeeter Patch Kit.

The internal of each patch is a super absorbent antimicrobial lining for deet or any other anti-bug spray. The absorbent liner will hold the bug spray for hours to prevent insects from bothering you or from you spraying some of these very harmful chemicals onto your body directly.

Each kit comes with 2 American Flag patches and 2 smaller patches. The 2 smaller patches are perfect to place around the ankles or below the knee. The American Flag patches are great to wear on your shoulders.

***For custom flag sets, please contact us at admin@matbock.com.  Custom sets must be purchased in sets of 100 kits***

Click below to order yours today!

www.matbock.com/collections/accessories/products/skeeter-patch-kit

Patagonia x MIIR – Quantumiir Pot

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Coming late this summer is a collaboration between Patagonia and MIIR. The Quantumiir Pot was developed at the request of Patagonia.

Incorporating a heat exchanger it heats quickly, requiring less fuel. Made from Stainless Steel for increased durability over traditional Aluminum pots, it incorporates measurement markings. The handles stow along the body.

Patagonia is also introducing a Wood Burning Stove which can burn wood scavenged on the trail. It breaks down into three components which store in the Quantumiir Pot.

REFT Field Ops Reference Nalgene Bottle

Thursday, January 2nd, 2020

RE Factor has combined the classic 32 oz Nalgene water bottle almost everyone carries with an aide memoire overprint consisting of a 9 Line MEDEVAC Request, MIST Repots, SALUT/SALT Report, RED (Risk Estimated Distance), WARNO and OPORD.

www.refactortactical.com/products/reft-field-ops-reference-nalgene

Qore Performance Leverages MOLLE to Expand IcePlate’s Use, Creates the Most Durable Hydration System on the Market

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

McLean, VA: In August 2019, Qore Performance released IcePlate Curve, the most innovative water bottle to date. Shaped and curved like a medium ESAPI plate, this wearable hydration reservoir integrates seamlessly into a user’s kit and provides unprecedented cooling and warming capabilities, protecting users from extreme environmental conditions. Its slim profile and multi-curve geometry make it the lightest and most versatile 1.5 L hydration reservoir on the market.

Now, with the IMS Flex and IcePlate MOLLE Combo, IcePlate Curve can be used as an amazingly flat, super strong replacement for traditional bladders with no compromises.

While IcePlate Curve easily attaches to a plate carrier using quick-release straps, some IcePlate Curve customers saw additional ways to integrate IcePlate into their kit. “We started to get daily requests from end-users who wanted to use IcePlate as a replacement for their external hydration reservoir, and preserving the MOLLE field on the Plate Carrier for all applications was a huge priority. Creating IcePlate MOLLE Sleeve (IMS) Flex was a quick step after that,” says Qore Performance Co-Founder & CEO Justin Li.

IMS Flex features include:

-No-Fail External Mounting: mount heavy tools (AT4s, Base Plates, etc.) on your hydration source without rupture concern
-Lightest-in-Class Hard Cell Hydration: combine IMS Flex with IcePlate Curve for optimized water carry and the thinnest hydration solution on the market
-Durable and Practical: rugged 500D Nylon construction features six full rows of MOLLE. Full three row MOLLE Loop field for identification measures 8.5″ w x 3″ h. Compatible with all MOLLE Plate Carriers
-Easy Access: bottom-loading design features YKK Zipper, allowing for quick IcePlate change-out and a tight, secure fit.

Great news for original IcePlate customers: IMS Flex is backwards compatible with all prior generations of IcePlate.

IMS Flex is currently available exclusively on www.qoreperformance.com in licensed MultiCam® and Coyote Brown; additional colors are expected over the next few months. The IcePlate MOLLE Combo can also be purchased on the website and includes an IMS Flex and IcePlate Curve. “Wearing IcePlate in the IMS Flex means the elimination of ruptured bladders, no wasted MOLLE fields, and finally sitting up comfortably while securely wearing your hydration reservoir in a vehicle. It’s the lightest, toughest, flattest solution available.”

 

AUSA 19 – Close Combat Assault Ration

Monday, October 14th, 2019

The Close Combat Assault Ration initiative is working to go beyond what even the First Strike Ration has accomplished by reducing the weight and volume of operational rations by 40%.

The prototype above shows current form factor and includes ration components that can be eaten on the go. One area of effort is to increase nutrient stability of performance optimizing food products.

This graphic shows how much smaller the CCAR footprint is for a 10-day operation than the MRE.

MDM 19 – Infuze Hydro

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

At every trade show I run across something I don’t expect to see. For Modern Day Marine, it’s the Infuze Hydro.

This small company out of Utah manufactures an in-line system for hydration systems which adds the liquid flavoring or performance enhancers you would normally dump right into your reservoir. Instead, the flavoring is completely separate and a back pressure valve keeps it from flowing into the reservoir leaving you with a cleaner system which doesn’t retain strong flavors. A flavor dial also allows you to choose straight water, or the amount of flavoring added before consumption.

The secret is these cartridges. They are refillable and you can use on of their four Elixir mixes or your own additive.

Infuze also offers a water bottle system which works off the same system but accepts a different cartridge.

www.infuzehydration.com