DSEi: Company Builds Shelters That Are Helicopter-Transportable
LONDON — A Canadian company has found a way to fit a command post or hospital inside a Chinook helicopter.
Ray Castelli, CEO of Vancouver-based Weatherhaven, a manufacturer of expandable shelters, was challenged by NATO logistics officers to build a structure that could fit inside the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Weatherhaven came up with the Tactical Redeployable Expanding Container Capability, or “hospital in a box,” as Castelli described it.
It has expandable walls and a retractable roof that opens up into more than 255 sq. ft. and can accommodate a temporary command center, hospital, kitchen, wash facilities and communication center. But it must collapse into a 5-foot-by-5-foot box to fit inside a Chinook, leaving enough room for about five crew members and six other personnel.
Weatherhaven said that it took between 10 and 15 minutes to remove the container from a helicopter during trials in a benign environment. On a video shown by the company at DSEi, it is pulled down a ramp from the back of the aircraft by a four-wheeler.
The company wanted to fix a pressing problem by focusing on the Chinoook as there are more than 1,200 in operation around the world. But Castelli said that the real market for their expandable centers is in tactical wheeled vehicles like the Humvee. During another virtual demonstration, Weatherhaven shows three boxes being transported at once on the ground — one is carried in the back of a military truck, which drags a second container behind it on a trailer bed. A third bundled shelter is unloaded out of the back of the helicopter and pulled away by the ATV.