Mobile underground bomb shelter can be assembled in 90 minutes

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2015 12:35 PM

Estonian company Terramil has begun manufacturing easy-to-instal mobile bomb shelters for those concerned about attack threats.

The manufacturers say they are light and easy to set up in any place, in a very short time -- although a digger is still needed.

An individual section of bomb shelter weighs about two tonnes. Its manufacturers say there is no need for any specific equipment or a crane to set up the shelter, other than a normal excavator as used on a building site.

"The installation of this certain unit here took about one hour and 30 minutes. And this started, time started from when we started unloading from the truck and this time stopped when everything was covered up and this was completely on place installed, covered and people are ready to go, so truck left," Terramil's Peeter Kirtsi said.

The main manufacturing material is plastic, but the shelter's creators refuse to reveal more detailed information on its components.

Despite its relative ease of transport and installation, the shelter still has to be dug in underground, demanding an appropriate location with an ample soil covering.

"It unites three different specific things that help this unit to stay bombproof. It means that the unit itself, the material of the unit, the profile that we have used here and also the soil cover. So this system interacts with the soil, and it... plays as one complete system in order to protect the people inside," Kirtsi added.

In the demonstration model, set up by Terramil in the Estonian armed forces' training ground, there are beds for 12 people, although clients can choose to alter the shelter module according to their own wishes -- for example, lessening the number of beds to equip the shelter with more amenities. It is also possible to add modules to consist of generators, refrigerators, staff storage and other necessities for emergency situations, up to the size of what Terramil equate to an underground town.

The manufacturers have tested the resistance to impact with the help of local armed forces and U.S. soldiers, who have both targeted the shelter with bombs during training. The nearest aviation shell exploded about four meters from the bomb shelter, which endured the blast.

"This two-meter depth unit was designed for 155-millimetre howitzer shells. We have tested it now against a range of different weapons, starting from mortars 81 mm and ending up with different howitzer classes and the biggest of them being 155 and as you can see there is no damage here. In order to get better results we have also had some local charges planted on top of the shelter and on the sides of the shelter and we have measuring equipment inside to measure the pressure, vibration, sound levels, everything like this that can be dangerous for people inside. And again we have had no damage to the shelter so far," Kirtsi said.

Terramil began selling the mobile bomb shelters this year, and say the interest they have received is vast, both from well-off locals and clients in the Middle East and beyond.

The demand for such shelters in Estonia has increased due to the crisis in Ukraine, although its creators point out that the project started long before the developments in the region.

"Every region where there is some crisis at hand or there is some potential danger... then you can just protect yourself and start developing these systems to hide away something to get the protective systems done. So basically every area where is some kind of danger," Kirtsi said.

"We have sold one of those to Estonia already. So there is a demand," he added.

The price of one 12-bunk, moderately equipped bomb shelter is about 18,000 euros (19,750 USD). Depending on the equipment and the number of modules, the price of a custom-designed bomb shelter would be considerably more.