The Future Is Now: FOB In A Box

AW1 Tim certainly appreciates technology, and although I view some things in a “is that really needed?” light,  every once in awhile something comes along that makes absolute sense.

Today’s example is the “FOB in a Box”.  This is another in the evolution of shipping containers. It is a series of support modules designed to be either built into existing containers, or built to the same specs. These modules provide food service, laundry, showers and toilets, etc. They are east to transport and, in many cases, can be set up and ready to go by two men in as little as two hours time.

From Fox News:

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.


The kitchen module is well-thought out, and capable of easily feeding 300-500 people.

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.


I think that this is a great idea, and it tags along with my own idea of building ship=borne self-defense modules for commercial vessels. I have been saying, since the time we were reflagging Kuwaiti tankers in the Gulf, that a self-defense system designed to fit into 1-4 cargo containers could be designed and mounted easily onto the deck(s) of commercial shipping vessels and provide support for dealing with small attackers, such as pirates.

These new support modules for FOB are also a great idea for any sort of emergency deployment operation, such as disaster relief, where large numbers of people may need to be taken care of. Medical clinics, small surgical and dental set-ups, as well as bunk rooms for support personnel could all be built into these containers and shipped via truck, train or plane to where needed and be ready for use in an extremely short period of time.

Well done.

A chef prepares a four-course meal for up to 3,000 soldiers in a kitchen in a box -- one that can be assembled anywhere in just a few hours.


4 Responses to “The Future Is Now: FOB In A Box”

    December 3, 2011 at 02:20

    I have heard two strange British phrases, “clever socks”, as in You think you’re so smart, don’t you, clever socks, and the seemingly related “sly boots”. The designer must have been wearing both his clever socks and his sly boots when he came up with that idea. Zounds, but that IS clever!

    With your idea, would that be a 20 foot container full of ammunition, with a ladder on the outside, and drilled and tapped on the roof, for the 25mm Bushmaster w/ mount stored in the container with the ammuntion? You could have 4 20 foot containers that would bolt together into a box, one of which would contain a 40 mm Bofors, ( Bofors still makes them ), and the others containing ammunition in two of them, and the fourth one being a clipping /ready storage room. There could be a third type, basically the same as the first, but with a MK-19 rather than a Bushmaster. Your idea has a lot of room for expansion. A large container ship, bulk carrier, or tanker could have a Type 2 with the Bofors in the bow, and a Type 1 on the starboard bow, and a Type 3 on the port bow, with the reverse on the stern, with the Type 1 to port, and the Type 3 to starboard. That would give a good coverage of fire in all arcs. You could put in a kitchen container set up, and personnel containers, and maybe a power supply container, and a command container, and the Armed Guard would be completely self contained, with only deck space being required from the ship.

    • December 3, 2011 at 12:00

      Scott, that’s sort of what I had in mind: Self-contained, with the only requirement being the need to draw power from the host.

      My original idea was to have one module with an ECM/ESM suite and some form of radar. The other was to have a launcher for Roland or Sidewinder AA missiles to counter the cruise missile or aircraft threats back when we were dealing with protecting Kuwaiti tankers.

      There was also the potential of a Phalanx gun system.

      Nowadays, there’s any number of options that could be built into a container, or the dimensions of one. As long as it fit the same dimensions, and had the same placement for stacking and lifting, etc, then it seems to me that the sky is the limit.

      All in all, you have to wonder why this hasn’t been done yet. International law recognizes the right of any person and ship to self-protection, and the illegality of piracy. It seems to me that a corporation could invest in several of these modules, and the expense(s) would be more than offset by savings of insurance costs and any potential loss of cargo, crew, or even the vessel itself.

      • 3 SCOTTtheBADGER
        December 3, 2011 at 19:35

        I don’t know about the sky being the limit, anything over 150 feet and you start running into bridge clearance problems.

      • 4 SCOTTtheBADGER
        December 3, 2011 at 19:38

        In my version, the Command Container would have a Raytheon commercial radar on the roof. With perhaps another one feeding remotely from the stern to cover the after approaches.

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