Figure Engineering delivers Personnel Decontamination System (PDS) to USAF’s 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron

Figure Engineering delivers Personnel Decontamination System (PDS) to USAF’s 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron

Figure Engineering delivers Personnel Decontamination System (PDS)

Figure Engineering delivered the first unit of its innovative Personnel Decontamination System (PDS) to the USAF’s 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron (27SOMXS) at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.

PDS is a rigid-skinned, conditioned, airlift-ready, rapid-to-set-up, and reliable turnkey transition room system that enables maintenance in austere locations and ensures continuous safe maintenance capabilities in stateside locations during permanent facility procurement. PDS brings instant, safe, UFC-compliant decontamination to the point of need anywhere in the world without the high cost of alternative large-scale construction projects.

Partnered with the USAF Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) as a part of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR), Figure Engineering recognized the need for mitigating chemical contamination of aircraft maintainers working on bases without adequate hazardous materials (HM) disposal systems in place. Long-term health effects, including cancer, on personnel involved in chemical maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) duties on military aircraft have been linked to a lack of proper clothing and skin cleaning after working with HMs.

They are often found residually on base infrastructure beyond maintenance hangars as well as maintainers’ cars, homes, and beds. PDS is comprised of two independent ISO containers which are connectable in multiple arrangements to a vestibule that links PDS to the hangar. The interior contains a locker and bench for street clothing, an air shower, a wet shower, an industrial sink, and a washer/dryer for PPE cleaning, as seen below.

All items necessary for setup are contained within the two containers. Due to its ease of deployment and potential significant positive impact on personnel safety, the use case for this decontamination system extends across a wide range of operational environments both CONUS and abroad, for any group that performs routine aircraft maintenance with HMs.


PDS was under the SBIR Phase II contract with another piece of technology also being developed by Figure Engineering, a rapidly-deployable, hangar-sized, Low-Observable (LO) paint capable maintenance booth called the Advanced Rapid Maintenance System (ARMS).

ARMS is designed to provide depot-level maintenance to forward operating bases in austere environments around the globe, particularly on remote bases in the Pacific as the DoD begins to shift focus to that theater. The geography of those locations means highly corrosive salt water is a significant operational risk, as well as the large distances between bases and depots.

ARMS seeks to bridge that gap by acting as a semi-permanent repair/maintenance facility for F-22 and smaller aircraft for application of LO paint and other chemicals that require controlled interior environments separate from the damaging elements of the Pacific climate.

As with PDS, which is ultimately intended to couple with ARMS to build a complete safe and rapidly deployable facility, ARMS can be airlifted as disassembled pallets by a C-17 Globemaster III and be set up in a short period of time with limited workers.

A section of ARMS was tested this spring as well, but strong advocacy and demand from a separate government customer will be required to adequately fund follow-on Phase IIb or Phase III development of this technology. However, PDS underwent successful testing that confirmed its desired operational usefulness by its intended customer.

During Phase II of PDS’ SBIR contract, which concluded with the successful delivery of the PDS prototype to our customer, Figure partnered with Schoonmaker Construction, Inc. in Ogden UT for fabrication and installation of the PDS design. A single flatbed trailer was used to carry the system, loaded by a 50-ton wrecker-rotator, during the two-day transit from UT to NM.

The system took four days to install with a team of three equipped with readily available equipment and tools, but with adequate practice and discovering process efficiencies, we expect the total install time could be brought down to two days with a team of three.

Upon completion of the installation and review by senior Air Force personnel at Cannon AFB, PDS achieved a technology readiness of Level 8 due to its successful deployment within its operational environment.

The 27SOMXS is currently using their PDS unit as a mobile, flexible stand-in facility for use as a decontamination transition area from a blast and paint operations building while their permanent transition areas are undergoing remodeling to achieve UFC compliance.
PDS’s success in being fully tested and deployed on time and under budget has made it a ready-to-purchase solution for DoD groups looking to ensure the health and safety of their aircraft maintainers.

Inside the PDS

About Figure Engineering

We are an advanced sustainment technology company developing Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) solutions for the Aerospace and Defense industries. Figure Engineering is aligned with the Department of Defense’s mission to provide war-winning capabilities to the warfighter by developing world-class Industry 4.0 depot maintenance technologies.

Founded in 2005, Figure Engineering builds next-generation technology that improves fleet readiness, increases worker safety, and enables ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.

Figure Engineering develops advanced manufacturing and sustainment technologies for aerospace, defense, and several other industries. Our products are used by the US Military, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) depots, and Commercial Industry leaders across the globe.