Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2009 Contents www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
DeFenCe sCIenCe AnD teCHnoloGy oRGAnIsAtIon
Defence science and
(DsTO) team from scottsdale,
Tasmania is trying to produce
the perfect chocolate bar.
It conjures thoughts of
chocolate-smothered nougat, layers
of buttery biscuit and myriad other
delights. But think again.
While reportedly still delicious, this particular
treat has been created with soldier sustainment in
mind, and is fortified with vitamins and minerals,
as well as being ‘melt proof’ in temperatures up to
50 degrees—perfect for our troops on operations
in summer in places like the Middle East and
hotter parts of Australia.
Chris Forbes-Ewan, a nutritionist at Defence
Nutrition and Food Technology, based in Scottsdale,
said the new, better-tasting chocolate forms part of
a prototype hot weather combat ration pack (CRP)
that has been developed by DSTO.
Confectionary breakthroughs aside, the prototype
pack is a culmination of 18 months research into
the nutritional requirements, eating habits and food
preferences of ADF personnel in hot conditions.
“We found that soldiers operating in hot
weather discarded food from their ration packs for
a number of reasons, including not feeling hungry
in the hot conditions and not liking particular
foods,” Chris said. “This caused problems in the
field with soldiers not eating enough food to meet
their energy requirements.”
The packs include more snack foods designed
to eat on-the-go, and products such as beef jerky,
sports bars, sports drinks, trail mixes, and main
meals that do not require heating.
Currently the ADF uses two 24-hour, individual
ration packs—the Combat Ration One Man, or
CR1M, and the Patrol Ration One Man, or PR1M.
“The CR1M is the most commonly issued
pack,” Chris said. “It is a 1.8-kilogram resource
containing almost every essential nutrient, and
gives each soldier 15 megajoules of energy, or
about 20 per cent more than a typical civilian
male’s daily energy requirement.”
Soldiers rotate between eight different
‘menus’, with main meals including beef tortellini,
beef teriyaki, chicken satay, salmon and pasta
mornay and vegetable curry.
“The main meals are pretty popular,” Chris
said. “The troops seem to be going away from the
sweet stuff, with a swing to spicier type foods.”
Other items in the CR1M include tea and coffee,
sweetened condensed milk, sweet and savoury
biscuits, fruit-flavoured drinks, soup, dried fruit,
canned fruit, muesli bars, and of course, chocolate.
The PR1M pack is much lighter, only 1
kilogram, and has been designed to better fit
in with the unique work patterns of a special
“Most of the food components of the PR1M
have been dehydrated, and the main meals are
freeze-dried,” Chris said.
“This is a special form of dehydration that
produces a higher quality product than the normal
“The main meals of both the CR1M and PR1M
are in soft-pack laminate pouches to stop digging into
a soldier’s body if required to drop to the ground.”
“Both packs contain about twice the minimum
recommended level of protein (which is important
for recovery following exercise), and have a strong
focus on carbohydrates (as the major fuel for the
working muscle) and are relatively low in fat.”
Striving for more efficient, more nutritious
CRPs, Chris and his team also collaborate with
research teams from NATO.
“The NATO group is basing its
recommendations on a scenario in which a group
of troops are brought in at short notice, and have
to work hard for up to 30 days before fresh food
can be supplied,” Chris said.
But even with this scientific research, Chris
explains how fresh food should always be the priority.
“It’s alright eating sweetened condensed milk
for a while, and having dried fruit and canned fruit,
and dehydrated vegies, but understandably soldiers
get sick of it fairly soon.” he said. “Fresh food is
more nutritious and plays a hugely significant role
in increasing morale.”
Combat ration packs
The main meals are pretty
popular, the troops seem
to be going away from the
sweet stuff, with a swing
to spicier type foods.
By Jack Foster
– Chris Forbes-Ewan,
the Assistant Manager at
DSTO’s Nutrition Research
Centre at Scottsdale
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