September 14, 2011 12:24 ET

Weatherhaven: Canadian Designed Hospital and Command Posts Fit Inside Helicopters to Add New Dimension for NATO Forces

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2011) - One of the many dangers in today's humanitarian or military operations is the exposure of helicopters and their aircrews when flying into hostile environments with vital high-value equipment slung under the aircraft, making them easier targets. These cargos might be mobile medical units or forward operating command posts.

With an under-slung load, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter's Defensive Aids Suite (DAS) is effectively redundant and the full-flight envelope compromised when flying in challenging terrain. In the past, it has led to damage to aircraft and this high-value equipment being released and destroyed when in mid-flight, delaying medical care to troops and civilians.

In response, Weatherhaven has developed the innovative Tactical Redeployable Expanding Container Capability (TRECC) system of shelters that can fit inside the body of a CH-47 and flown at high speed to operations. The TRECC was unveiled today at the world's largest defence and security show at London's DSEi 2011.

For over 15 years, Weatherhaven has been at the forefront of expandable containerized shelters that are used from the Arctic to Antarctica and from the Amazon to Africa. The TRECC is Weatherhaven's latest innovation, a first anywhere, and adds safety and speed to operations by adding the capability to transport hospitals and command centres inside a CH-47 helicopter (TRECC H-Helicopter variant). The HMMWV TRECC V-vehicle variant can be placed on the back of a High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, adding further operational capacity and reach.

The TRECC-H has a payload volume of 11.8 cu m (418 cu ft), enough space to stow a medical triage unit or a forward operating base command post, which incorporates the latest fibre-optic communications technology.

When the helicopter lands, the TRECC-H can be deployed within minutes. The roof rises to eight feet and the sides unfold to provide 23.7 sq m (255 sq ft) of working space, enough for a fully equipped medical centre. The TRECC is already filled with the necessary equipment that can be moved swiftly into position and operational within minutes of deployment, to begin saving lives. All TRECC units are modular and easily interconnected with other Weatherhaven units to form extended operational bases.

"We have created a new system to rapidly and safely deliver emergency hospitals and a range of other capability that will save the lives of civilians and troops," says Ray Castelli, CEO of Weatherhaven. "It's a Canadian innovation and we now have world-wide patents that are pending. We are already getting orders and NATO has expressed interest. There are all kinds of applications for this unique technology."

NATO assisted in developing the TRECC to meet a gap within deployable capabilities that meets ever-increasing operational demands. The TRECC "adds a new dimension to our flexible approach and will be an essential part of our future infrastructure," says a Director of Computer Information Systems at NATO.

Weatherhaven would also like to acknowledge the support of the Canadian Government, which has played an important role in collaborating on solution development and showcasing our products on numerous global deployments since 1989.

"Our Government is proud to support innovative companies like Weatherhaven," said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "The TRECC is an excellent example of the ground-breaking projects being achieved by western Canadian aerospace and defence companies and we're proud to have such an extensive presence here at DSEi."

Effective redeployable capability is key to any civilian or military response in a rapidly changing world. The TRECC adds a new dimension to this flexible approach by instantly creating vital infrastructure in the remotest reaches of the world in all conditions.


An end to exposed under-slung capability

Ensuring the safety and secure transit of under-slung loads on Chinook helicopters has been a long‐time concern for military personnel. Not only do the Chinooks have problems when coming under fire with the significantly reduced capacity of their Defensive Aids Suite (DAS), but also the under-slung cargo prevents them from being able to use their full flight envelope when flying in challenging terrain. Add this to the financial implications of losing a high‐value, specialized payload and this becomes a pressing problem to solve.

In response, Weatherhaven has developed a new generation of redeployable containerized shelters to address these issues. The Tactical Redeployable Expanding Container Capability (TRECC‐H for helicopter transport platform and deployment) is another product in Weatherhaven's line of expandable container solutions. For over 15 years, Weatherhaven's Mobile Expandable Container Configuration™ (MECC™) has been at the forefront of military deployments, combining an insulated fabric cover system with standard ISO container technology so it can be shipped anywhere in the world via air, ground, rail or sea.

The MECC™ expands to three times the area of its packed configuration without exposing its contents to the external environment. The Extended Height MECC™ can expand an additional 4 feet in height. The MECC™ and TRECC provide integrated shelter solutions and capabilities from field hospitals to kitchens, ablutions and hi‐tech operation command centres.

The TRECC is distinct from the MECC™ in that in its closed state, it is compact enough to fit inside a CH‐47 Chinook helicopter, which is the main transport helicopter for current military deployments in Afghanistan and the Near and Middle East. With a payload volume of 418 cu ft (11.8 m3), the TRECC offers significant cargo space for the stowage and protection of specialized high‐value equipment being deployed by the aircraft. The TRECC's lightweight, but tough construction means that its internal payload can be as much as 6,500 lb (2,900 kg). This containerized shelter will help end the very real risk of cargo being dropped and abandoned when under hostile or environmental threats.

Once the Chinook lands on the ground, the TRECC is unloaded by a quad bike or similar vehicle, using the shelter's integral adjustable mobilizer wheels. The shelter roof is raised from its closed height of five feet to an internal height of eight feet, providing ample headroom. The sides of the TRECC unfold to provide approximately 255 sq ft (23.7 m2) of internal area. Another significant advantage of the TRECC is that the internal contents are tied to a floor‐mounted, aircraft‐grade cargo securing system during transit and then set up inside the shelter. The cargo is never exposed to external weather.

The TRECC is powered up and operational within minutes of deployment to provide a spacious working environment. The TRECC can be a stand‐alone shelter or easily integrated with Weatherhaven's full product range, including expandable containers, softwall shelters and electrical and mechanical support systems. Power and air conditioning can be provided easily with an optional on‐board generator and environmental control units.

When the operation is over, the TRECC is packed up quickly, the internal contents are secured and the unit is loaded into the Chinook helicopter and can be taken to its next deployment.

Weatherhaven is a leading provider of redeployable shelters, camp and systems for remote sites around the world. The company engineers, manufactures and installs customer shelter systems for a wide variety of military, medical and commercial applications. With strategic partnerships in many countries and manufacturing facilities on three continents, the company has grown from being a dominant Canadian domestic supplier to providing shelter systems and installations on all seven continents and deployments in more than 50 countries.

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