Sunbelt Rentals Fabric Structure Protects Navy's Elite Combat Helicopter


The U.S. Navy tapped Sunbelt Rentals as the winning vendor for an important recovery project about to begin. The project was part of continuing efforts to repair and replace structures damaged by Hurricane Florence two years ago on the East Coast.

The Navy needed a relocatable maintenance hangar for its elite Osprey helicopters – it planned to build a permanent hangar and what was left of the original structure would be demolished. This meant that the fleet needed a dedicated place for repairs and protection installed right away.

The Osprey is a combat aircraft hero. Its value as a multipurpose amphibious assault transport and service aircraft is unsurpassed. The U.S. Navy chose Sunbelt Rentals to design and install a shelter for their prized bird, based on Sunbelt Rentals' years of experience creating temporary solutions for government and military branches.

The Challenge

The greatest challenge faced by the client was a tight timeline. The new hangar would take at least a year to build, so the navy team wanted to get the demolition and construction underway as soon as possible. They asked Sunbelt Rentals' team to have a fully-functioning temporary hangar within a few weeks.

Sunbelt Rentals was tasked with designing a structure with enough space to house at least two Osprey helicopters. Other requirements for the structure included having a cargo door at each end of the hangar, an electric kit powered to raise the cargo doors, wall receptacles for power tools and multiple interior light bays.

The client’s structure needed:


Approximately 17,000 sq. ft. of space

Personnel doors


Safety features


LCD lighting package


Electrical kit


2 cargo doors large enough for the helicopters to enter/exit

The Solution

Osprey Hangar4-1Sunbelt Rentals' team considered all of the requirements and specifications for the structure including regional codes. The team proposed the Mahaffey Tension Series™ (MTS™) clear span fabric structure as the ideal solution.

The MTS™ is engineered to be quickly installed for temporary or permanent projects. Engineered using the benchmark peaked-arch profile, the Mahaffey Tension Series™ has proven its versatility on projects ranging from sports facilities to permanent warehouses.

Additionally, Sunbelt Rentals' proposed installing a complete electrical kit with an air compressor for the interior requirements of the structure.

Sunbelt Rentals' solution included the following features:

  • Mahaffey Tension Series™ 17,437 sq. ft.
  • 2 Exit light kits
  • 2 Fire extinguishers
  • 40 LED lights; 5 per intermediate truss
  • 2 Mahaffey Xtension™ doors
  • Interior electrical and air compressor kit
  • Professional project managers, designers, engineers & installation team


Sunbelt Rentals' team went through the customary background checks and security clearances required by the military. Once the team arrived on the base, they were able to complete the installation of the clear span structure, the two Xtension™ doors and the unique addition of a Sunbelt Rentals installed electrical kit in under a month – 28 days to be exact!

Sunbelt Rentals' quick turnaround allowed the construction team to begin their work on the permanent maintenance hangar on time.

The Result


The Navy team expressed satisfaction with Sunbelt Rentals' swift action to shelter the Osprey fleet. The temporary hangar allowed them to reach their milestone and begin the permanent hangar project early this year. They also asked Sunbelt Rentals for a lease extension option, to keep the maintenance hangar on-site longer, if necessary, to accommodate any potential delays with construction.

Even though Sunbelt Rentals has a long history of designing and delivering turnkey aviation solutions, housing such an important aircraft was a thrill and an honor for the team.

The Takeaways

Military and government aviation projects often have unique criteria. These clients need a partner well-versed in military and government security and safety requirements – not to mention industry expertise.

Sunbelt Rentals' team has years of experience in delivering turnkey clear span solutions for military aviation clients. Sunbelt Rentals' portfolio includes collaborations to create customized hangars for the Coastguard, U.S. Air Force, and the Marine One helicopter fleet.

If you have a large project coming up, trust a vendor partner with a proven track record of consistently coming through for our military. Choose Sunbelt Rentals.

Call one of our project managers today.

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Topics: Military and Government