AAR has announced it has signed a licensing agreement with Canadian-based Weatherhaven to produce a new 5-1 Hardwall Expandable Redeployable Container (HERCon) in the US.

AAR, a leading aerospace and defence company in the US, will have rights to market and manufacture the HERCon product for all services and agencies within the US Departments of Defence, Homeland Security and Department of Justice. The HERCon units will be manufactured by AAR’s Mobility Systems business in Cadillac, Michigan.

The design concept for this unique container system enables two 4ft wide, containers to be connected and shipped as a single ISO eight-foot container footprint. When the walls are fully expanded, these units become 2 x 400 square foot hard-wall buildings, creating more than 800 square feet of shelter, or more than 5-1 expandability from its original ISO shipping footprint of 160 square feet (8ft x 20ft).

The unit can be fully deployed within 15 minutes and can also be pre-fabricated to fold out into apartment units, dormitories, kitchens, medical centres and washrooms. AAR is the first company to have the right to offer these units for sale in the US. The HERCon was originally designed by Weatherhaven and received a US patent in May 2012.

"This product is a world-class innovation and huge step forward in providing rapidly deployed shelters for the disaster relief and the defense/security market in the US," said Lee Krantz, vice president and general manager of AAR Mobility Systems.

"We’re committed to innovation and this agreement with Weatherhaven will enable us to bring more solutions to a broader customer base."

Weatherhaven and AAR have successfully collaborated in the US market before. In 1999, AAR licensed Weatherhaven’s globally patented softwall Mobile Expandable Container Configuration container (MECC), and since then, they have been able to manufacture and sell more than 1,700 of the units to the US military and government customers.