Putting combat rations packaging on a diet

Lauri Kline, with the Advanced Materials Engineering Team with the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mass., conducts rain testing on packaging materials in the Doriot Climatic Chamber. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

Lauri Kline, with the Advanced Materials Engineering Team with the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mass., conducts rain testing on packaging materials in the Doriot Climatic Chamber. (U.S. Army photo by David Kamm)

NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 23, 2013) — When it comes to combat rations packaging, Lauri Kline would like to put the Defense Department on something of a diet.

Kline, project officer and packaging scientist for the Advanced Materials Engineering Team with the DOD Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center here, has been working on incorporating alternative materials for the pallets, stretch wrap and carton straps for the millions of cases of Meals, Ready to Eat, or MREs, annually provided to service members overseas.

“We consume so many rations, there’s obviously packaging waste,” Kline said. “So that’s what my team is trying to address.

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‘HEaDS-UP’ at Natick for better helmets

The new integrated helmet technology would eliminate the need for crew members to switch to their Army Combat Helmets when dismounting from their vehicles. Photo Credit: David Kamm

The new integrated helmet technology would eliminate the need for crew members to switch to their Army Combat Helmets when dismounting from their vehicles. Photo Credit: David Kamm

NATICK, Mass. (Sept. 6, 2013) — In their quest for better helmet technologies to keep Soldiers and Marines safe on the battlefield, researchers at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center here are making a “HEaDS-UP” play.

Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection, or HEaDS-UP, has been a four-year effort at Natick to provide mounted and dismounted troops with a more fully integrated headgear system. HEaDS-UP has focused on developing a Technical Data Package of design options and tradeoffs to build a modular, integrated headgear system. Some of these technologies include: improved ballistic materials; non-ballistic impact liner materials and designs; see-through and projected heads-up display technologies; better eye, face and hearing protection; and communications.

Two modular headgear concept designs emerged from the process. They will be officially unveiled in October during a demonstration at Fort Benning’s (Ga.) Maneuver Battle Lab, said Don Lee, project engineer in the Headgear Thrust Area of Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC.

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