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53rd squadron supports COVID-19 isolation container testing

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Savanah Bray
  • 53rd Wing

The 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron provides essential test support on an isolation container prototype, known as the Negative Pressure Conex.  The NPC is being evaluated for potential use as a transport module for individuals 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, the NPC 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 April 21 here where the 28th TES’s Agile Combat Support Division is on the ground providing test support, managing risk assessment and ensuring the NPC can keep aircrew safe and protected from infectious diseases. 
 “The team is no stranger to bio-containment,” said Capt. Conor Favo, 28th TES Agile Combat Support
division chief . “We provided this support when developing the Transportation Isolation System 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 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 April 30, is a show of not only rapid test, but also rapid acquisition. Army Contracting Command slashed a four-month contracting award process to just seven days; with delivery of the prototype only 13 days after contract award. The associated prototype and testing costs 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.”

The 28th TES is part of the 53rd Wing, headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.