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Field story: Optimus nova for special forces


"it is essential that soldiers can rely on their gear; including their personal gear."



Special Forces of the German Army (Bundeswehr)





Project Description

Katadyn delivered customized Optimus Nova Stove sets to the special forces of the German Bundeswehr. Their need includes:

  • Extremely reliable cooking stove for all common liquid fuels available in the army (including jet fuel)
  • Stove system that can be used all year round from – 40° to + 45° C in all climate zones as well as at high altitude.
  • Lightweight and compact for superior portability
  • Easy to use and field maintainable.
  • Large fuel capacity tanks for greater autonomy
  • Including a versatile windscreen / stove stabilizer
  • A comprehensive set of spare parts

During a field mission, soldiers often have to be independent responsible for their food preparation. Either alone or in smaller groups of 3 – 4 persons, they are using the stove system provided to prepare their ration packs and hot beverages. In these situations, it is crucial that the stove system is reliable, versatile and easy to use/maintain. The performance of the stove needs to be powerful and reliable, no matter in what circumstances the stove is used. Knowing that liquid fuels tend to clog a stove’s fuel nozzle, an easy cleaning system is required which allows the soldier to clean the nozzle easily and while the stove is lit.

As these missions can last more than several days, long-lasting autonomy of the soldier must be ensured. The stove system’s fuel canisters therefore must be lightweight, safe to use, and large capacity. Furthermore, a spare parts kit is needed for all necessary field maintenance possible. The stove must be easy to dismantle and replacement parts must be intuitive to fit. This allows
the soldier to quickly carry out all necessary field maintenance himself in order to ensure the stove’s reliability.

In addition, to make the stove set more versatile, a specific windscreen is required that can be used either as a windscreen or surface stabilizer on soft ground (e.g. snow).



Stove: Optimus Nova

Weight: 450 g including pump

Power: 2850 Watts

Burn time: Up to 2 hours at full power (using 450 ml white gas)

Boil time (1L): Up to 3.5 min depending on climate, altitude, etc.


unque features

1. Single Jet Technology: superior versatility

The Optimus Nova stove is capable of being operated with:

  • White gas
  • Kerosene
  • Diesel
  • Unleaded fuel
  • Jet fuel (including F-34 Nato jet fuel)

No changing of nozzles is needed when switching between fuels.


2. Magic Cleaning Needle: superior Ease of Use

The integrated magnetic cleaning needle makes it possible to clean the fuel nozzle opening without having to dismantle the stove and even during cooking. Thus, a cumbersome and time-consuming part of field maintenance is drastically pared back.


3. Multitool

A single tool with no sharp edges provides 9 functions that are necessary for all field maintenance. The magnet on this tool is used to activate the integrated magnetic cleaning needle in the stove by moving it underneath the burner during operation.


4. Pump

This is a sturdy pump containing no plastic parts. With 25-35 strokes (depending on fill level), the fuel bottle can be pressurized quickly and easily.


5. Packaging

The stove is packed in a rugged, versatile stuff sack that can be zipped open and laid out for use as a work surface for all necessary utensils for food preparation or field maintenance.


6. Fuel Containers

The system is containing 2 separate fuel bottles: 0.6L (164 g) & 1L (242g). Both bottles are made of sturdy lightweight aluminium in black matte finish for reduced visibility.


7. Windscreen

This versatile item is made of 10 segments of hard anodized aluminum, 22cm high and 80cm long in total. With two integrated stakes, it can be affixed to the ground. It can also be folded in half and used as a surface stabilizer for the stove on soft ground (e.g. snow). In the case of needing both uses at one time, the stove also includes a piece of foldable aluminum foil to be used as a windscreen on top.


8. Spare Parts Kit

This comprehensive kit consists of a total of 21 small parts. All parts can be exchanged in the stove or in the pump by using the provided multitool.



J. Dengler (Equipment Consultant, German Bundeswehr):

«The Optimus Nova Stove has been extensively tested and compared by the Bundeswehr against other multifuel stove models in all extreme conditions (tropical humidity, dry & hot, high altitude and arctic  conditions) over a longer period of time. Specific focus was put on performance and handling tests in arctic conditions, during which the Optimus Nova stoves did very well. Based on test results, the  specifications for a new Bundeswehr stove for the Special Forces was confirmed. The German Special Forces are very satisfied with the product selected, and it has already proven its outstanding reliability and quality.»