28th TES provides support for COVID-19 isolation container testing
By 1st Lt. Savanah Bray, 53rd Wing
/ Published April 22, 2020
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --
The 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron is providing essential test support on an isolation container prototype, known the Negative Pressure Conex (NPC), which is being evaluated for potential use as a transport module for individuals infected with the COVID-19 virus and other highly infectious diseases.
Rapidly developed in response to the United States Transportation Command’s Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON),the Negative Pressure Conex was designed to fit inside of a C-17 or C-5 aircraft and enable the safe transport of as many as 28 patients, both ambulatory and litter, and teams of medical professionals to medical facilities around the globe.
The NPC was delivered on April 21, 2020 to Joint Base Charleston where the 28th TES’s Agile Combat Support Division is on the ground providing test support, managing risk assessment and ensuring that the NPC can keep aircrew safe and protected from infectious diseases.
“The team in the 28th TES is no stranger to bio-containment,” said Capt. Conor Favo, division chief, 28th TES Agile Combat Support. “We provided this support when developing the Transportation Isolation System (TIS) for the Ebola crisis, and we’re making every effort to ensure our fellow service members have safe transportation during these times.”
The 28th TES is working alongside test partners at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, the Agile Combat Support Directorate, Air Force CBRN Defense Systems Branch partnered with the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense, along with many other organizations across the Department of Defense and Academia.
“It’s great to work with such a diverse group of professionals, and I could not be prouder of all the work from my fellow teammates in the 28th TES,” said Favo.
Testing the NPC, which is expected to conclude on April 30, 2020, is a show of not only rapid test, but also rapid acquisition. Army Contracting Command slashed a 4-month contracting award process to just 7 days; with delivery of the prototype only 13 days after contract award. All associated prototype and testing costs at approximately $2 million.
Following the conclusion of testing, USTRANSCOM and AMC leadership will make a decision on procurement of the NPC with the expected first delivery systems arriving for operations by the end of May.
“Our goal is to provide Airmen with protective capabilities at the speed of relevance and that’s what we are doing,” said Lt. Col. Paul Hendrickson, materiel leader within ACS and NPC Lead. “The prototype has the potential to provide safe transport of our Airmen, Dependents and anyone needing care, while ensuring the safety of aircrew and aeromedical staff.”