New Technology to Transport COVID-19 and Other Contagious Patients

December 29, 2020

Aeromedical Bio-Containment Module (ABCM) for Patient Isolation Transportation Requirements

The Aeromedical Bio-Containment Module (ABCM) provides air ambulance transport.

To address the current COVID-19 pandemic, and to proactively address future global health crises, Knight Aerospace is working closely with the medical community – including seeking input from military medicine specialists, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and others – and has developed a self-contained advanced medical transportation and treatment units. Known as the Aeromedical Bio-Containment Module (ABCM), the design is based on Knight’s proven modular systems. These have received approvals from all major aircraft OEMs as well as airworthiness certification through the U.S. Air Force and other independent organizations.

These “flying patient care rooms” can be quickly loaded and activated within an array of aviation platforms, including C-130, C-17, A400M, C-390, C2, and C-5. The ABCM units are fully operational on the ground while the aircraft that transport them are quickly returned to service to fulfill additional medical or other critical missions.


Following a multi-year design process in partnership with aircraft manufacturers and medical professionals and assisted by an advisory council that features retired military medical commanders, including a former U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, the ABCM is now in production. Knight has begun building the first unit, with expected completion in the summer of 2020. Based on demand, the company’s facility can scale production to large production of units per year.


Key Features of the ABCM include:

  • Three separate areas: Patient Area, Anteroom, and Office Area
  • Five (5) Standard Pallet positions in length
    • The customer has the option to use a full 5 Pallet Position Module or Two Modules, one 3 Pallet Positions in length (Patient Area), and one 2 Pallet Positions in length (Anteroom and Staff Area).
  • Can be utilized to transport up to 18 patients simultaneously and treat patients with different degrees of acuity, including highly contagious patients.
    • To achieve a higher patient count, the single medical beds or medical stacking litters are changed with economy class seats
  • Provides complete separation of patient and medical crew from aircrew – including negative pressurization and a separate oxygen system that allows for safer transportation of contagious patients.
  • Easy decontamination allows for aircraft to return to service quickly after ABCM is delivered.
  • Egress walkway on the aft left-hand side of the Module for forward to aft walkway inside the C-130 aircraft (walkway is in the wheel well area).
  • State-of-the-art hospital environment allows for the transportation of highly infectious patients. Other aspects of the Module can be transformed for major trauma, resuscitative, and surgical procedures while in flight.
  • Acoustic package for decreased level of noise inside the Module during flight.
  • Customization options include telemedicine capabilities to provide additional expertise while patients are being transported or when units are staged on the ground as part of efforts to surge medical facilities in impacted areas.
  • Optional features include the inclusion of an environmental control unit (for heating and cooling) with positive pressurization, a cabin management system, and an increased acoustical and vibration package.


The Aeromedical Bio-Containment Module (ABCM) is a quick change medical module.

Knight Modular systems being loaded onto a C-130J (left) and a C-17 aircraft (right). The new medical ABCMs will be similarly loaded/unloaded to allow for quick reconfiguration of the aircraft.


The Aeromedical Bio-Containment Module (ABCM) is a military medical module.



Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Knight Aerospace has operated for almost 30 years, establishing itself as the industry leader in providing quality and reliable “quick-change/roll-on roll-off” modules and pallets to enhance the functionality of various cargo aircraft. The self-contained units include passenger seating, lavatories, galleys, communication equipment, head-of-state suites, and combinations of the foregoing. Knight Aerospace exists at the exciting intersection of aerospace, military, and medical technology. Its mission is to modernize aerospace transportation to be modular, adaptable, and customizable in an ever-changing world. Knight’s products allow its customers to quickly adapt their aircraft to fit their current needs. It has longstanding working collaborations with aircraft manufacturers, the U.S. defense community, and foreign militaries.

The company operates within a 120,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility at Port San Antonio, a large technology campus whose platform allows the company to scale production and provides a direct air connection via Kelly Field (SKF), a joint-use industrial airport operated by the U.S. Air Force and located within proximity to the Knight facility.

Knight’s products are designed in-house; 85% of products are fabricated in-house and 95% are assembled in-house.


The Universal Patient Module provides aerospace medical service for the military.