Fabric Structures for USAF ACE Operations

Fabric Structures for Agile Combat EmploymentBig Top Fabric Structures has been designing temporary hangars and sunshades for the U.S. Air Force since our founding in 1979. Our fabric buildings offer many advantages over permanent structures. In fact, due to their versatile design, our hangars and sunshades are ideal for Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operations.

Regionally Based Cluster Pre-Position Kits for Aircraft

As defense technology progresses, strategic changes in operations are necessary for the U.S. Armed Forces to maintain an edge in areas of interest around the globe. One of these changes is moving away from large bases (which make for large targets) and toward smaller base clusters located in uncommon locations, such as within an ally nation’s borders.

For ACE operations to be successful, the U.S. Air Force needs temporary, rapidly deployed shelters where aircraft can be refueled, rearmed, and returned to action. Big Top’s fabric hangars are the ideal solution because they can be:

Assembled Quickly

Our buildings can be constructed at a rate of 2,500 square feet per day, and no specialized training is required for installation.

Anchored to Nearly Anything

Our fabric hangars do not require a concrete foundation and can be anchored to nearly anything, including asphalt and ecology blocks.

Repurposed as Needed

Our shelters can be moved around the base or disassembled and shipped to another location should the needs of the operations change.

Other Benefits of Our Fabric Structures

Versatility is certainly a leading benefit of Big Top’s fabric structures, but that’s only the start. Our buildings are also:

Naturally Illuminated

The translucent fabric roof allows natural sunlight to flood the interior, fully illuminating the space without the need for artificial lighting.


The fabric roof also reflects 99.95 percent of thermal radiation, protecting staff and maximizing the lifespan of your equipment’s paint jobs and electronic components.


Thanks to the roof’s exceptional thermal performance, the interior of our fabric hangars maintain a pleasant temperature that is, on average, 15 degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than the outside temperature, keeping airmen comfortable as they perform maintenance, refueling, and rearming duties.

Built to Last

Big Top’s fabric regionally based cluster pre-position (RBCP) kits are supported by an industrial-grade, galvanized steel frame that will hold strong through any type of weather, year after year. For additional support in turbulent climates, our shelters can be engineered for heavy wind and snow loads. They can also be equipped with lightning protection so that they can be used as muster stations.


Our temporary buildings require fewer materials and take less time to construct than permanent buildings, saving on costs while at the same time aligning with best ACE practices.

A Proud Partner With the USAF

At Big Top, it has been our honor to support the U.S. Air Force over the years. Our fabric hangars are approved by the USACE as being compliant with U.S. Air Force Sunshade Management (AFSM), Air Force Instruction (AFI), and IBC. Additionally, our fabric structures are Berry Amendment compliant.

To learn more about how our fabric structures are ideal for ACE operations, contact Big Top today.

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