Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016

Food is served! [AAD16D1]

14 September 2016

“An army marches on its stomach” is a saying attributed to Napoleon. It still holds true for modern military forces anywhere in the world.

The South African military has just awarded a contract for 15-person field kitchens jointly to Desert Wolf Consulting (Outside Hangar 6) and OTT Solutions (Stand ON2, outside Hangar 5).

It represents the first part of Armscor’s Project Teamster to provide the SANDF with a mass field feeding system (MFFS), the remaining phases of which are yet to be announced.

“Our successful track record as designer and manufacturer of the world’s best off-road trailers since 1994 undoubtedly counts in the market,” said Desert Wolf managing director Hennie Kieser.

“When the Namibia Defence Force evaluated mobile kitchens from renowned manufacturers, ours ‘outcooked’ them all. We’ve just received a third order from Namibia since last year.”

Desert Wolf has now also received interest from other African nations, including Angola and Botswana, especially after joint military exercises late last year.

The company boasts no less than 125 variants of its renowned multipurpose off-road trailers, of which 80 per cent are exported, including to the United Nations and NATO countries.

Tests on the FCU-15 (field cooking unit) at Armscor’s Gerotek facility involved boiling two litres of water in a 300mm pot in 10 minutes, which Desert Wolf’s diesel-fired Boma-30 stove achieved in less than eight minutes.

The company had invested significant resources over two years to optimise its stove. “Diesel is increasingly replacing gas, but we even interviewed chefs and had to delve into subjects like thermodynamics to ensure efficient energy-control for a fast and economical, as well as ergonomic, solution,” he said.

The Boma design extracts as much heat from the canopied field kitchen, which invariably operates in the hot and humid conditions of the African theatre. Little energy is wasted, though, as the two individual burner units for the oven and dual-plate stove respectively are pulse-induced. This ensures constant heat where it is needed without expending excess heat through the chimney. The stove was designed to accommodate an edged stainless steel plate on which food such as eggs and meat is prepared, without using round pots that usurp space.

Desert Wolf and OTT Solutions will be delivering more than 150 units of the FCU-15 in the next 12 months, which also includes cooler boxes for frozen and cooled rations, as well as dry ration and storage boxes for cooking utensils and equipment.

“At AAD 2016 we’re launching our FCU-250, a larger field kitchen that is designed to provide meals for 250 persons,” Kieser said.

(425 words)