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Defence Buildings

Hardened Earth-Covered Buildings

Spantech has designed and tested a range of hardened earth-covered buildings specifically for Defence applications.

The inherent advantages of the Spantech Construction System are ideal for hardened and earth covered Defence buildings.  They are incredibly strong, fast to construct and cost effective.

Most of Spantech’s hardened buildings can be modified to be protected from specific weapons or threats, or resist and protect their contents from specified explosive blast pressures.

Spantech Explosive Storehouses

Spantech’s most popular Defence building is the Spantech Explosives Storehouse (ESH).  The Spantech ESH is a 7 Bar earth-covered igloo which can be licenced to store up to 75,000kgs (NEQ) of HD1.1 at minimal (D3 and D4) NATO separation distances.

Spantech has three basic models:

  • 13m ESH
  • 23m ESH and
  • 17.5m ESH

See recent Explosive Storehouse projects.

Tested in Full-Scale Explosive Trials

The design and structures have been exhaustively tested in a series of full scale explosive trials.

Spantech ESH proven in full scale trials

Spantech Explosives Storehouses have been subjected to seventy-five thousand kilogram (NEQ) HD1.1 blasts at minimal NATO separation distances.

A comprehensive series of full scale donor and receptor trials were conducted in 1991 and 1992 at the Woomera testing range in South Australia.


The aim was to determine the ability of the cost effective Spantech designs to provide satisfactory protection for their contents and prevent propagation to adjacent storehouses in the event of an accidental explosion occurring within the NATO inter magazine safety distances.

The trials were conducted by the Australian Department of Defence in conjunction with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and a division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The Spantech ESH is now the bench mark for ESH projects undertaken by the Australian Department of Defence, Ministry of Defence, New Zealand and many others.

Test Overview

The key stages of the tests were:

Stage I
Three Spantech 13m ESH [receptors] constructed at D3 and D4 distances from a UK Double Bay Igloo donor. The donor contained 75,000kgs (NEQ) of HD 1.1 wired for instantaneous detonation.

All three receptor buildings survived.

Stage II
Three Spantech 13m ESH [receptors] were subjected to an open air blast with 75,000kgs (NEQ) of HD 1.1 placed on an adjacent concrete slab.

All receptors survived.

Stage III
A Spantech 13m ESH [donor] was filled with 75,000kgs (NEQ) of HD 1.1 wired for instantaneous detonation. A new Spantech 23m ESH [receptor] was constructed for Stage III.

All receptors survived.

Stage IV
A Spantech 13m ESH (donor) was subjected to a series of HD 1.2 burns. The largest burn featured over five thousand 105mm shells in a stack comprising 160 pallets.
The donor building suppressed the series of explosions and all buildings survived.


The Australian Ordnance Council advised, “the Spantech 13m and 23m Spantech Explosives Storehouse designs are acceptable for use and qualified for use as Bar 7 igloos.”

In particular:

  • During all stages of testing the Spantech ESH survived the force of the blast and proved to be able to satisfactorily protect the contents to a serviceable standard.
  • The fragmentation spread of the Spantech ESH was significantly lower than comparable structures, with the fragmentation spread remaining within the recommended NATO safety guidelines.

Since the sucessful testing, Spantech ESH are now specified and widely used by Defence Departments in Australia, the Middle East, Asia, New Zealand, and the Pacific.

For more information download the Spantech Defence brochure.

A Full Range of Defence Buildings

Today Spantech’s range of Defence buildings for a wide range of defence applications, including the following key areas:

  • ExplosivesOrdnance Storage, Preparation and Loading Facilities;
  • Aircraft – hardened aricraft shelters, rapid deployment shelters with aircrew accommodation, bomb loading facilities, and non-hardened shade structures for fighter aircraft;
  • Essential Services – for the protection of critical infrastructure, plant and equipment
  • Personnel Protection – for the protection of front-line aircrew, rapid deployment facilites, underground command centres and VIP survival facilities with decoy buildings;
  • General base buildings – All other types of conventional buildings for general base operations:
    • gymnasiums and aquatic centres;
    • mess and barracks;
    • office buildings, training centres and special-purpose training facilities (such as indoor target range);
    • warehouses; and
    • shade structures for personnel and equipment.

Remote Construction

The Spantech construction method is ideally suited to remote or isolated locations.  To date the company has successfully completed projects right across Australia from Woomera to Weipa, in New Zealand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

See some of Spantech’s remote Defence projects