Honors Gallery

Hardened Alternative Trailer System

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2016

Award Type:

Region: Southeast

USACE - ERDC - Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory

The Hardened Alternative Trailer System (HATS) grew out of increasing numbers of forced entry, small-arms, and ballistic attacks impacting personnel in and around U.S. embassies.

Existing containerized housing units offered little-to-no force protection and required up-armoring in the field, a costly and unreliable means of addressing federal forced entry and blast-resistant requirements. HATS modules were developed and tested to exceed threat-level requirements and to be fully compatible with conventional International Organization for Standardization (ISO) freight container dimensions. The HATS modularity enables standardized shipping and handling, and the ability to stack units at site destinations to create multi-level building complexes. This hardened turnkey approach permits rapid implementation of secure, cost-effective modules to serve as housing, offices, and safe havens for U.S. personnel abroad.

In just two short years (2011-2013), the HATS technology moved from concept to initial implementation. U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (ERDC-GSL) engineering capabilities were recruited to address the concept initiated by the Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DoS-DS). In 2012, the ERDC-GSL team collaborated to design, prototype, and blast test HATS to meet DoS-DS standards. Advancing rapidly to address demands for HATS demonstration units, the team had security concerns about how to release the sensitive design specifications and future updates to achieve high-quality manufacturing.

By devising a technology transfer solution, the team protected the HATS design and method of production in 2013 under a first patent application; developed a licensing process to prequalify applicant manufacturing capabilities; found licensees through the use of novel resources; and used the resulting license agreements as a means to assert quality control and transfer ongoing design changes to manufacturers. In 2013, a first license was executed and the first contracting occurred for delivery of 38 HATS units.

The HATS modularity enables standardized shipping and handling, and the ability to stack units at site destinations to create multi-level building complexes.

By 2015, technology transfer efforts resulted in eight nonexclusive licenses with Charleston Marine Containers, ARMAG Corporation, HWH Protective Structures, MBI Global/CLS, Power Systems & Controls, Griffin Incorporated, Quality Manufacturing Group, and LoneStar Marine Shelters.

To date, 211 HATS units have been contracted through the licensees, representing an estimated $53 million of HATS licensee sales revenue, with installation locations now including Peshawar, Pakistan; Juba, South Sudan; Damascus, Syria; and Adana, Turkey. HATS modules have successfully provided an affordable, commercially available, physical force protection system to enhance the survivability of U.S. embassy and industry personnel in hostile threat situations.

Transfer of the HATS technology has yielded a new product and market for the licensees, and has satisfied ERDC-GSL's mission to develop innovative technologies for survivability and protective structures on behalf of national interests.



Team Members:

John M. Hoemann, Justin M. Roberts, James L. Davis, Col. Gary Johnston