Case Study

Facility Hardening, a Solution in the Making

A Case Study in Securing the USAF 45th Space Wing.

When the United States Air Force (USAF) 45th Space Wing required new construction and additional design services, including architectural, mechanical, civil, electrical, and structural support to the Civil Engineering Flight of the USAF, they turned to GP Strategies.

Central to the proposal, the USAF 45th Space Wing required a stringent overview and hardening solution to their facility. At over 1,000 feet in length and located within 100 feet of a well-traveled state highway, loss of the facility would negatively impact national security and the ability for the US to monitor certain activities abroad.

A further challenge was the access to the interior of the facility, which was very limited due to the operational nature of the work performed.

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GP Strategies Solution
In the process of hardening the military facility, GP Strategies services included the following:

  • Participating in the study, analysis, design, and construction cost estimating and phasing for the hardening of a highly unique, irreplaceable military facility
  • Directing engineers and scientists in the assessment of blast scenarios for specified threat conditions; determining the maximum survivability blast for the building to operate
  • Conducting studies on the interior of the facility to understand the construction techniques
  • Meeting with vendors and other government agencies to understand the technology available to harden facilities
  • Developing design requirements, construction documents, and cost estimates to perform the work

The final design solution was twofold:

  • Highway Modification – The state highway was modified to include barriers to absorb blast energy and to keep traffic to a minimum distance from the facility. The minimum distance was determined by analysis for minimal impact to the existing structure, and several lanes of traffic were rerouted to achieve this distance. Post hardening of the building, the lanes of traffic were reopened
  • Building Hardening – The hardening of the building consisted of structural steel members tied into the concrete building columns and a sheet steel skin installed over the structural steel framework. After installation of the sheet steel skin, it was enhanced with a stucco/exterior insulation finish system

Technology Used
The facility was modeled using Blast/FX™ Explosive Effects Analysis Software, in both the as-found condition and fully modified condition. Blast/FX is a graphical software tool used to determine the effects of explosives against facilities and the people in those facilities.

The Outcome
The requirements of the task-based contract were successfully attained and fulfilled. The Air Force-required analysis of the threat of conventional weapons to their air bases—to better plan for personnel and medical needs in the event of a war—was successfully achieved. The facility was hardened, reducing the risk of loss that would result in case of an explosion, the potential impact to national security, and the ability for the US to monitor certain activities abroad.

Results at a glance
The Air Force-required analysis of the threat of conventional weapons to their air bases—to better plan for personnel and medical needs in the event of a war—was successfully achieved.

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