Tag: Military


KBR, the leading provider of U.S. government cyber and electronic security solutions, approached Air Innovations to engineer a custom environmental control unit (ECU) to protect its ERILS radar systems. The company selected Air Innovations for its decades-long experience completing environmental control projects with unique requirements.

Blue radar

The Challenges

Air Innovations needed to design an ECU around several challenges:

First, rather than build a portable solution connected to the radar system through ductwork and plugged into an external power source, the ECU would need to be mounted directly to the radar.

Second, since radar components are big and bulky, space for the climate control solution would be limited to a narrow footprint on the front of the radar cart.

Next, the client’s radar systems would be exposed to extreme ambient conditions while in the field. The ECU would need to operate without fail to protect radar systems from the same harsh conditions.

Finally, integration into the radar cart meant the ECU would be subjected to the same gravitational forces as the trailer. The unit would need to tolerate being bounced around on the back of a truck.

The Solution

The Air Innovations team that engineered, manufactured, and tested the ECU had over 100 years of combined experience designing highly complex climate control solutions.

All thermal and electrical components, including cooling coils and compressors to circuit breakers and hardware, were customized for KBR.

The unit was configured to recirculate conditioned air to the client’s ERILS unit at 260 cubic feet per minute (CFM). The system comprises a single-piece vertical unit similar to an electric enclosure cooling system. The 24” high, 18” deep, and 23” wide unit was built to fit the narrow footprint and is easily bolted onto the radar by the client.

The ECU operates in ambient conditions between -30℉ (-34℃) to 125℉ (52℃). The outdoor cabinet is epoxy-painted aluminum, all internal metal components are painted aluminum or stainless steel, and all hardware is stainless steel to make the unit sound for outdoor use in extreme conditions.

The unit includes a 1KW electric heater to keep the radar warm and a 4,000 BTU compressor to keep it cool.

To protect the ECU and therefore the radar system from bouncing through rough terrain, Air Innovations increased the gauge size of the aluminum parts and integrated extra corner brackets, high-strength fasteners, and minimized welded joints. In addition, the team used anti-vibration mounts to stabilize critical components.

Lastly, the ECU was designed to receive power through the radar trailer.

Air Innovations was proud to collaborate with the KBR team on such an exciting and important project.


The Result

The environmental control unit included the following:

  • The ability to operate in specified ambient conditions -30℉ (-34℃) to 125℉ (52℃)
  • The capacity to control temperatures between 75℉ to 90℉ in cooling mode, and below 40℉ in heating mode
  • 260 CFM design airflow
  • 100% recirculating air system
  • Air-cooled condenser with coated coil
  • Epoxy-painted aluminum outdoor cabinet and stainless-steel hardware
  • 1KW electric heater
  • Nominal 4,000 BTUH compressor
  • 1 R/A mounted combination T sensor
  • 115/1/60-15 amps
  • A light construction less than 150 pounds
  • A design that meets or exceeds UL standards

If you’re ready for a custom solution from Air Innovations, like this custom environmental control unit, contact us by submitting a Project Inquiry or calling 1-800-835-3268 today.

For case studies on other industries, view our general case studies page. We also have whitepapers covering the aerospace industry, semiconductor industry, and MyZone Systems product line. The whitepaper page can be found here.