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Delta developing mobile hospital rooms to treat and transport U.S. military members with COVID-19

The U.S. armed forces will soon use medical pods manufactured by Delta divisions to safely bring home deployed members who have contracted COVID-19 or been exposed to other infectious agents.

Teams from Delta’s Technical Operations division and wholly owned subsidiary Delta Flight Products combined their advanced manufacturing capabilities to begin converting dozens of single-use, 40-foot shipping containers into rapidly deployable, reusable hospital care pods. Each pod is designed to attach inside military transport aircraft. The program is in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, UTS Systems and Highland Engineering.

“We are proud to be a part of a project that will directly help save the lives of those who fight for us every day,” said Don Mitacek – Delta’s Senior Vice President – Technical Operations. “The contract requires a highly-skilled team with flexibility to deliver on a tight timeline, and Delta is uniquely qualified to deliver.”

The effort brings together engineers, machinists and technical staff from TechOps and Delta Flight Products to equip pods with necessary features to protect occupants. The pods are outfitted with negative pressure compartments featuring HEPA filtration to help prevent the spread of pathogens, as well as a compartment housing the appropriate number of seats and litters – specialized military stretchers. The pods fit up to 32 seats that can be replaced with litters based on health needs of military members.

The partners delivered an initial prototype to the U.S. military last week. Following review, the team expects to deliver 25 units in the coming months, with the opportunity for an additional 50. The group of contractors and engineers moved quickly to source materials, develop a project plan and mobilize teams to meet the aggressive timeline. 

Military/DOD custom built container

“Across our many teams, our Delta people have quickly shifted their focus to apply skills to meet whatever need our partners or our communities have. The entire Delta family is humbled by and proud of their efforts,” said Mike Moore – Delta’s Senior Vice President – Maintenance Operations and MRO Services.

The project is the latest in Delta’s work to support members of the military. As of 2019, over 13,000 Delta employees are serving or have served in the armed forces. At Delta Flight Products and TechOps, a number of employee veterans are lending support to the ongoing project.

“I served in the Army. My grandfather also served in the Army. It means a lot to me to use my skills to help people in the military that are sick,” said Sean Gregory – Shop Equipment Technician – Technical Operations. “It means a lot to see everybody come together on a project that will help so many.”

The airline supports active military and veterans throughout the U.S – more information on Delta’s support for veterans can be found at delta.com/veterans.

A GLOBAL EFFORT TO FIGHT THE VIRUS

In April, Delta increased support to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable COVID-focused partnership announcements in recent weeks include:

  • Manufacture of face shields for healthcare workers: The airline announced a partnership with Georgia Center for Medical Innovation to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers across the U.S., with expanded production capability targeted for 5,000 daily.
  • Donation of 200,000 pounds of food to those in need: Delta provided more than 200,000 pounds of food to hospitals, community food banks and other organizations around the world to support people in need as well as those working tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Expanded support for medical volunteers traveling to frontlines: The carrier is offering free travel to medical volunteers heading to the hardest-hit areas of the U.S. as part of Delta’s support for frontline medical workers looking to help.
  • Elevated protection for customers during travel: In recent weeks, the airline has implemented numerous changes to protect the safety of customers. Delta has provided face masks to employees, begun a new boarding process, expanded social distancing efforts and delivered a new standard of clean.

Visit Delta News Hub for the latest on actions the airline is taking to contribute to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.