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U.S. Army Soldier & Biological Chemical Command
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: January 22, 2001
No: 01-04

New Shelter Blocks Contaminants

NATICK, Mass. -- Forward-deployed Army medical units will have extra capability to treat patients contaminated from nuclear, biological or chemical weapons with the Chemically and Biologically Protected Shelter (CBPS).

Developed at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick), the new shelter is used by a treatment squad, medical company and a forward surgical team.

The CBPS is a self-contained system with five major components: an expanded capacity Humvee; a hard-walled lightweight multipurpose shelter (LMS) attached to the bed of the Humvee; an airbeam-supported chemically and biologically-resistant soft tent shelter attached to the back of the LMS; and a high mobility trailer with a 10 kilowatt tactically-quiet generator.

After the trailer is positioned and detached, the unit is ready to set-up. A fabric cover over the Humvee tailgate is opened and a pulley system lowers the tailgate that allows the soft shelter to roll out into position. Then the four-soldier medic team unfolds the soft shelter and inflates the air beam assemblies forming six arches. A rib air inflation system fills the beams within minutes and needs only 3 pounds per square inch to erect the shelter.

"The low-pressure fabric airbeams are being used for the first time in a production item," said Andra Kirsteins, CBPS systems manager. "They improve the speed and ease of deployment over traditional tent frames with their low weight and simple operation."

From the time the CBPS stops, set-up time in a non-threat area must be performed in 20 minutes. Medics have been able to exceed this requirement by being fully mission-capable and able to receive their first patient within seven minutes of driving on site. The CBPS is highly mobile and can relocate up to three times per day.

The CBPS provides 300 square feet of space and can process 10 patients per hour in a chemical and biological threat environment. Unlike regular tents, the soft tent shelter is treated to resist chemical and biological agents. The fabric also can be decontaminated.

"A normal tent will absorb chemical agents. It would normally go right through the fabric," Kirsteins said.

The CBPS can operate in a chemically-contaminated environment of minus 25 to 120 degrees F while maintaining an internal temperature of 60 to 90 degrees F.

Up to seven systems can be connected together by unzipping a door-sized portion of the tent from the right or left-side walls. A passageway connector is attached, connecting one CBPS to another. Three CBPS's are connected to form a forward surgical team.

The CBPS has separate entrances for ambulatory and litter patients. Each entrance is an airlock which forces out any lingering contaminated air from soldiers entering the shelter. Patients and personnel are decontaminated before they get to the CBPS, and the tent remains pressurized when operating in a contaminated area.

CBPSs were sent to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for reliability and limited user-testing in July and August. They then went through testing for operational effectiveness at Fort Drum, N.Y., in October and November. Production models are scheduled for delivery beginning in June 2001.

Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at