The Transport Isolation System (TIS) is an infectious disease containment unit designed to minimize risk to aircrew, medical attendants, and the airframe, while allowing medical care to be provided to patients in-flight.
A TIS, in its basic configuration, consists of one antechamber module (AM) and two isolation modules (IM), each on its own modified 463L aircraft pallet. The TIS can fly on C-130H, C-130J, and C-17 aircraft. These pallets are retrofitted with watertight enclosures and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems to contain both airborne and non-airborne pathogens. The AM provides medical crew members with an enclosed space to safely decontaminate and remove their personal protective equipment (PPE) before exiting, while the IMs are where patient care occurs. For additional capacity, the C-17 is able to transport two TIS units. Each TIS can hold two litter patients, stacked securely for evacuation, or four ambulatory patients, those who can walk with little to no assistance. TIS allows medical personnel to use all medical supplies and equipment carried by Aeromedical Evacuation (AE) crews and Critical Care Air Transport Teams and allows for the same level of care available on any USAF AE mission.
In September 2014, during Operation United Assistance in support of the Ebola outbreak, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) identified the need to move patients exposed to High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) out of the African theater of operations to the continental United States. This requirement was tasked to United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), which then created a Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statement. In December 2014, the TIS passed Safe to Fly testing. In January 2015, USTRANSCOM accepted the initial TIS capability.
Primary Function: Aeromedical transportation of HCID patients
Manufacturer: Production Products of St. Louis, MO
Weight: Antechamber Module = 1,285 lbs; Isolation Module = 1,455 lbs
Personnel tasked for TIS missions receive multi-day initial TIS training. This training includes TIS familiarization, donning and doffing PPE procedures, exercising patient loading/unloading procedures, simulated in-flight patient care, and didactics in strict adherence to infection control procedures, vital to patient and crew safety. The training prior to launch also includes other pre-mission planning activities to ensure the highest level of patient care and safest transport operations.