Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Diedrich Prigge V, PhD.


Through the life of the United States Air Force (USAF), the accepted method for constructing permanent aircraft hangars is the use of materials such as steel and concrete. However, the emerging type of construction known as steel framed fabric (SFF) construction shows potential to meet the requirements of the USAF at a lower life-cycle cost and with faster construction delivery. A comprehensive comparison to conventional hangars is conducted through the means of an extensive literature review, case study analysis, structural analysis with the use of finite element analysis (FEA) software, and a life-cycle cost comparison. Through examination of Department of Defense (DoD) Unified Facility Criteria, industry building codes, and best practices, there are no significant barriers keeping the USAF/DoD from constructing SFF hangars. The FEA of a simplified SFF model reinforced that fabric membranes can provide equal, if not more, structural safety in comparison to conventional hangar claddings. This research recommends the USAF implement SFF hangars as an alternative to conventional construction for new aircraft hangar projects. By investing in SFF, the USAF will save considerable costs to the US taxpayer. Shorter construction delivery times will allow commanders more flexibility in mission bed-down. Lastly, reduced maintenance concerns typical of SFF hangars will lessen the burden on facility maintenance personnel.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number