Benefits of Fabric Structures for Military Shelter Systems

military personnel meeting inside a fabric structureThe advantages of Big Top’s fabric structures are numerous, a fact that caught the attention of the U.S military decades ago. Our temporary buildings can be found on Air Force and other military bases across the globe. Why are they so popular for military organizations? Because our fabric shelters are cost-effective, energy efficient, and endlessly customizable to suit specific military applications.

Designed for Military Applications

Big Top’s fabric structures are used as large-area maintenance shelters (LAMS), aircraft sunshades and hangars, barracks and mess halls, vehicle inspection shelters and guard shacks, storage facilities, and other applications that are vital to the day-to-day operations of a military base. Here are some reasons why:

Low Cost

Our fabric shelters require fewer materials than constructing a permanent building and therefore cost less.

Quick Deployment

A Big Top temporary building can be installed at a rate of 2,500 square feet per day and does not require the help of an outside contractor.

Versatile Installations

No concrete pad is required as a foundation for our military fabric structures—they can be anchored to nearly anything, even asphalt and dirt, allowing for easy deployment in the field.

Weather Protection

Big Top’s rapid-deployable military fabric structures are supported by an industrial-grade, galvanized steel frame that is strong enough to weather nearly any storm. They can also be engineered for heavy wind and snow loads, and equipped with lighting protection so the building can be used as a muster station for troops in inclement weather.


Operations change and so do military base layouts. Big Top’s fabric shelters can be moved intact with a crane and disassembled and shipped to new base of operations as needed.

Thermal Performance

The fabric cover of our buildings is formulated to repel 99.95% of UV-A and UV-B radiation, protecting staff and equipment from the damaging effects of overexposure. The benefit also helps keep the interior at a comfortable temperature that is, on average, 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, eliminating the need for artificial climate control.

Natural Illumination

The fabric cover is also translucent and allows natural light to fully illuminate the interior space without aid from an electric lighting system.


Big Top’s fabric military shelters can range in size from 20 to 174 feet wide and nearly any length. They can also be equipped with numerous features, such as internal partitions, HVAC systems, personnel and bay doors, flooring, and more.

Agile Combat Employment (ACE)

Thanks to the versatility and fast deployments of Big Top’s fabric structures, they are ideal for use as regionally based cluster pre-position (RBCP) kits, supporting ACE efforts on military bases around the globe.

Approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

Big Top’s fabric structures are approved by the USACE as being compliant with U.S. Sunshade Management (AFSM), Air Force Instruction (AFI), and International Building Code (IBC). They are also Berry Amendment compliant.

Learn More

For more information about how Big Top’s fabric structures support military operations, contact us today. We’ve been a leading fabric structure manufacturing company since 1979, and it has been our honor to serve the U.S. military.

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