New Ration Packs For Soldiers

British troops on the front line in Afghanistan are tucking into improved ration packs.

They include new lightweight packs for patrols lasting 12 hours or less, which contain a sandwich and a main meal like chicken curry or steak and vegetables that can be heated up with a chemical water heater.

The updated menus - among them Hindu, Sikh, halal and vegetarian options - are designed to meet troops' nutritional needs in different environments and supply the 4,000 or more calories a day they burn up while on active service.

They were developed under a £140 million contract with Purple Foodservice Solutions, based in Petersfield, Hampshire, which is expected to save the Ministry of Defence £1.6 million a year.

Private Ryan Salmon, from 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, welcomed the new menus.

He said: "The new 12-hour ration packs are a great change from the normal rations. It contains beef jerky and a sandwich which are great for a quick meal.

"The chemical water heater and main meal are good when you are on short ops. You can get a quick warm scoff and not worry about messing around with a cooker."

:: This is a typical menu for the new lightweight 12-hour ration packs:

-Barbecue beef sandwich

-Meatballs and pasta or pasta bolognese

-Beef jerky

-Fruity oatie biscuit

-Menthol chewing gum

-Golden oat bar

-Fruit and nut mix

-Mixed fruit sweets

-Lemon energy drink

-Cherry isotonic drink

-Two raspberry-flavoured water drinks

All the packs also contain a heating pouch, water sterilisation tablets, a reusable bag, tissues, a spoon and wet wipes.