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Hesco bastion

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HESCO MIL units stacked two units high around portable toilets in Iraq
German base (Norwegian section) inside Camp Marmal near Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Note the internal lines of gabions to reduce and compartmentalize mortar effects.

The Concertainer,[1] known colloquially as the Hesco barrier[2] or Hesco bastion,[3] with HESCO being the brand name of the manufacturer, is a modern gabion primarily used for flood control and military fortifications.[4] It is made of a collapsible wire mesh container and heavy-duty fabric liner and is used as a temporary to semi-permanent levee or blast wall against small-arms fire and/or explosives. It has been used during the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was originally designed for use on beaches and marshes for erosion and flood control.[5] They were used in 2005 to reinforce levees around New Orleans in the weeks between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.[6] During the June 2008 Midwest floods, 8,200 metres (9,000 yd) of HESCO barrier wall were shipped to Iowa.[7] In late March 2009, 10,700 m (11,700 yd) of HESCO barrier were delivered to Fargo, North Dakota, to protect against floods. In late September 2016, 16 km (10 mi) of HESCO barriers were used in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the fall flood of 2016.[8]


The Concertainer was originally developed by Jimi Heselden, a British entrepreneur and ex-coal miner, who founded HESCO Bastion Ltd. in 1989 to manufacture his invention.[9] The brand name for the barrier is a portmanteau of the words "concertina" and "container".[1]


Assembling the HESCO unit entails unfolding it and filling it with sand, soil or gravel, usually using a front end loader. The placement of the barrier is generally very similar to the placement of a sandbag barrier or earth berm except that room must generally be allowed for the equipment used to fill the barrier.[10]

The HESCO barriers are varied in sizes and models. Most of the barriers can also be stacked, and they are shipped collapsed in compact sets.


Since the original concertainer, HESCO has developed specialized variants:

  • MIL is the basic earth-colored unit for military use. Example dimensions of typical configurations are 1.4 m × 1.1 m × 9.8 m (4.6 ft × 3.6 ft × 32.2 ft) to 2.1 m × 1.5 m × 30 m (6.9 ft × 4.9 ft × 98.4 ft).[11] There is a "recoverable" variant with faster disassembly.[12]
  • FLOODLINE is a single-sized product for civilian flood control, colored green.[13]
  • RAID (Rapid in-theatre Deployment) is deployed from a container, which is dragged along the line of ground where the barrier is to be formed, unfolding up to several hundred metres of barrier ready for filling within minutes.[14]
  • HAB (Hesco Accommodation Bunker) combines a rectangular wall of MIL units with an aluminum roof and a pre-detonation screen.[15]
  • TERRABLOCK, a barrier combining concertainer ballast and metal mesh fencing. The largest "XV" form works as a M50P1 (ASTM F2656) vehicle barrier.[16]
  • LOPS (lightweight overhead protection system), a lightweight roof protecting against mortar fire.
  • Sangar kits consisting of MIL walls, a protective roof, windows, and optional metal support.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Heselden, J.W. (November 1997). "Reinforcement and Control Using Concertainers". In C.V.J. Varma (ed.). Geosynthetics Asia 1997: Select papers. Geosynthetics Asia 1997. G. Venkatappa Rao; A.R.G. Rao. Bangalore, India: CRC Press. p. 496. ISBN 9789054107705. Retrieved 2012-08-27. The name 'Concertainer', which is a registered trade mark, refers to the unique way that units fold flat concertina style. This ensures very efficient packaging, handling, and erection.
  2. ^ "What are the 'HESCO' barriers used to shore up the LA River?". Southern California Public Radio. January 11, 2016. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  3. ^ "Watch the moment WW2 bomb is blown up". Kent Online. May 14, 2020. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  4. ^ "Ex-miner's £10m gift to good causes". Yorkshire Evening Post. 25 March 2008. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved 2020-05-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ Flood Fighting Structures Demonstration and Evaluation Program Archived 2006-06-22 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center, Factsheet January 2006
  6. ^ "HESCO Bastion - A simple approach to flood protection and much more", Progressive Engineer, 2006, archived from the original on 2008-12-01
  7. ^ Hammond company helps Midwest hold back flood[permanent dead link] - David, David; Hammond Daily Star, June 25, 2008
  8. ^ Cedar Rapids Discusses Permanent Flood Protection - Kalk, Jordee; KCRG, September 26, 2016
  9. ^ "Owner of Segway Company Dies in Segway Accident" New York Times, September 27, 2010
  10. ^ Mike Nowatzki, Flood Update: Portable floodwalls will be used in flood fight as city scrambles for protection Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine The Fargo-Moorhead INFORUM Archived 2021-12-15 at the Wayback Machine March 23, 2009.
  11. ^ "HESCO". Army Technology. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  12. ^ "HESCO MIL™ UNITS". Hesco.
  13. ^ "FLOODLINE flood barriers". HESCO.
  14. ^ HESCO Raid (from the manufacturer Web site)
  16. ^ "HESCO TERRABLOCK". Hesco.

External links[edit]