Easily portable hangars for limited infrastructure
The Indonesian Air Force has one of the most challenging terrains in the world to protect, as the country is made up of over 17,000 islands. With the insignificant infrastructure in place to defend their maritime border and transportation confines, the Indonesian Air Force demanded quickly relocatable maintenance shelters to undertake smaller repairs on their fighters fleet.
Many of the Indonesian islands have usable runways. Due to alternative transportation methods limitations, the Indonesian AF required maintenance shelters to be air-transportable on a single C-130 flight and quickly set up. Prerequisite of the project was that the facilities would be deployable within 24 hours, because of the short-term nature of Air Force missions across various islands.
The tropical climate of Indonesia changes throughout the year with one thing remaining constant - it is always hot and humid. The humid environment leads to issues of corrosion and rust, and the customer wanted to ensure that the acquired solution was long-term and not something they would need to replace every few years. Aviatech inflatable shelters are fabricated from UV protected PVC material, making them impervious to corrosion. Inflatable hangars are lightweight and compact, allowing for simple transportation methods.
Never knowing where an expected enemy may attack, the Indonesian Air Force needs to be ready at all times to deploy their military to any of their 17,000 islands. As most of the islands are quite small, the Air Force has over 30 operating bases across the country. Though most of these operating bases have limited infrastructure, they are expected to be able to mobilize maintenance facilities for fighter jets in less than 48 hours.
Due to its geographical location, Indonesia has severe weather conditions and is prone to natural disasters. From earthquakes to monsoons, the customer needs to ensure that facilities are made to resist the harmful environment.
Corrosion and rust are a common concern for most materials in humid climates, limiting options of the Indonesian Air Force when choosing long-lasting temporary shelters.
Keywords: continuous movement, earthquakes, humidity, rust and corrosion
To ensure the Indonesian AF could repair their fighter jets in remote bases, Aviatech delivered four (4) hangars with wide-span gates (17 x 7 meters) totaling 620 m² each facility. With the weather changing rapidly and sudden violent gusts of wind in this region, hangars were reinforced with extra supporting frames to resist windspeed up to 50 meters/second. Each facility has an integrated automation system for energy-efficiency and weather station that can be accessed remotely.
For improved safety, the hangars are fitted with top of the range LED lighting (250 LUX). An optional multipurpose diesel ground power unit (GPU, 360 kVA) can power up literally any fighter jet and besides that serves as the base main power source.
As standard, each hangar delivery set included s power back-up system that will keep hangars inflated during power outages.
The first hanger arrived in Indonesia in 43 days by Singapore Airlines routine flight. The next three hangars delivery to different island locations followed just two months later.
With unexpected heavy rain, the first hangar deployment took place at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport (Jakarta, Indonesia), which serves as the primary Air Force base in the capital region. This temporary workshop acted as a short-term maintenance center for the SU-30MK maintenance team.
The weather conditions at hand, made the first erection challenging; however, within 21 hours the hangar was assembled. The harsh environment made it perfect for training, as it educated the Indonesian officers and soldiers on how to set up the facilities in even the most challenging situations. Fifteen (15) of the Indonesia Air Force officers received certification in erection and disassembly of the inflatable aircraft shelters to support the customer in the quick turnaround time it requires for operation.
“Our main problem while choosing aircraft shelters was corrosion and mobility of the shelter. Most of the products available on the market have metal frames, bolts, nuts. In our climate, these elements start to corrode immediately. On the other hand, these elements are heavy and take much space. All this makes metal frame structures hard to move around bases fast. We are quite happy with our inflatable hangars – they meet all our requirements and are simple in daily operations.”
Headquartered out of Jakarta, the Indonesian Air Force consists of three operational commands. While the majority of their airbases situate on Java island, they have an over 30 additional bases located across various islands.
The Indonesian Air Force has over 37000 personnel and operates 110+ combat aircraft including SU-27 and SU-30 as the main fighters (Russia) which are complemented by F-16 Fighting Falcons (USA). Over the coming years, the Indonesian Air Force intends to purchase 11 Sukhoi SU-35 and more than 50 KF-X to replace their aging US Northrop F-5 Tiger light fighters.