Forces often need to operate in areas where the local infrastructure is rudimentary at best or has collapsed. Kitchen, laundry, water and sanitation facilities are essential for forces that will be based at home but on contingency status -- meaning those needing to deploy quickly.
Fortunately, the forward operating base (FOB) now comes in one big box.
The box part of these pop-ups are standard shipping containers, meaning they can be transported just like anything else by air, water, road or rail. They're stackable too, plus they can be hoisted about and put on a pallet with a standard hook lift or maneuvered by truck and crane and then easily unveil a kitchen, bathroom and more.
Many companies have been moving into meeting this requirement, but Camp Supply International hailing from Norway is leading the FOB in a box pack. Drawing upon experience in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and more recently Afghanistan, the company has succeeded in containerizing the basic needs of a base.
A standard kitchen that can produce meals for 300 to 600 comprises four containers that can be set up by two people within ten hours. It can be augmented with two additional containers to feed 500 to 1,000 -- and by modifying it with six containers it can feed 3,000 soldiers.
What does a pop-up kitchen look like? All of the interior walls, including the ceiling and floor, are stainless steel providing compliance with hygiene requirements in style.
Forces often deploy to areas where contagious diseases spread by viruses, micro-organisms and parasites pose a threat. These kitchens in a box tackle this problem with UVC and air-optimization systems.
UVC, ultra violet radiation or UV light, disinfects water, air and surfaces prevents microbes from breeding by damaging the genetic material. Some microbes can evolve to resist chemicals and antibiotics; UVC solves the resistance problem.
The application of this technology -- which is designed to meet Center for Disease Control and WHO’s tightest bio-safety guidelines and is also useful for the sanitary and laundry pop-ups -- sets Camp Supply International apart from other manufacturers.
How comfortable and hardy are these “boxes”? These containers are designed to meet the challenge of extreme conditions ranging from the Arctic to the desert. With up to eight inches of insulating material, water “pipe in pipes” equipped with self-regulating heating cables, and air intakes with sand and snow traps, Camp Supply's boxes can function seamlessly in spite of extreme weather from -58 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Laundry and Loos
The FOB bathroom in a box, formally known as a “sanitary unit,” is a container divided into two sections with one area for toilets and wash basins and one with three shower stalls. Also decked out in stainless steel, it even comes equipped with a water softener and a bug zapper. The water treatment system, hydrostatic system and water heater are compartementalized in a separate area.
An FOB laundry in a box provides six Miele industrial washing machines and dryers enough for 250 soldiers. It has an insect trap and even an automatic soap dispensing system.
Both the loo and laundry boxes can be set up by two people within two hours.
Waste disposal, essentially an incinerator system, also comes in the standard 20-foot container. This incinerator can handle all sorts of waste except glass and provides approximately 97 percent reduction in waste volume, producing sterile ash that surpasses the current IMO requirements. Two people can set this up in about six hours.
LEGO brick-style, the containers can be combined to build larger rooms and structures connected by gas-tight packings and the company's proprietary connecting system. The corner posts have a leveling system that makes it very easy to adjust the structure, removing the limitation of finding flat ground.
The equipment is pre-mounted in the container and already connected to water, drains and electricity, making the set up time far swifter than it could be. Easily disassembled and transported, after the mission is completed these “boxes” can be stored or re-used for other ones.
The FOB in a box (or “containerized base camp solution”) makes a whole lot of sense -- not just for the military, but for humanitarian operations and aid organizations.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has travelled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie
Allison Barrie consults at the highest levels of defense, has travelled to more than 70 countries, is a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees and now the author of the new book "Future Weapons: Access Granted" covering invisible tanks through to thought-controlled fighter jets. You can click here for more information on FOX Firepower columnist and host Allison Barrie and you can follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie.