The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the construction contract for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Vehicle Technology Directorate facility June 26. The contract was awarded to Walbridge Aldinger of Detroit, Mich., in the amount of $14.7 million to build a Vehicle Technology Directorate facility behind the already existing Rodman Laboratory located in the Aberdeen Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground off of Deer Creek Loop Road.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory was previously updated as part of Base Realignment and Closure 1995 with the completion of the Rodman Laboratory. The ARL-VTD will be relocating to APG from NASA centers in Langley, Va., and Glenn, Ohio, as part of BRAC 2005.

"The ground breaking for a new vehicle research laboratory is an extremely good news story for ARL," said Dr. Mark Nixon, director of the ARL-VTD. "It represents the efforts of ARL, the Corps of Engineers and garrison employees and their diligent and exceptional teamwork during the design phase of this new facility."

Explaining the highlights of the new facility Nixon commented, "Laboratories to be included on the site will be a small engine testing chamber with altitude simulation, a universal drive systems rig, a low Reynolds-number wind-tunnel, and a high-cycle fatigue lab. The new facility will also house the Propulsion and Mechanics Divisions of ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate."

Nixon went on to note that the addition of this facility will help strengthen ARL's core mission.

"The BRAC decision has enabled VTD to consolidate its personnel and their associated laboratories, and has produced synergy with related materials, human-factors and high-performance computing research that ARL also conducts at APG. The consolidation efforts have only begun to tap the potential this [VTD addition] will create for ARL," he said.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the facility in early September with construction to begin soon after. The VTD is scheduled for completion in June 2011.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is an Army leader in the field of basic and applied research. According to ARL's official Web site, the mission of the organization is, "to provide innovative science, technology and analysis to enable full-spectrum operations...the Army relies on this ARL Team for scientific discoveries, technologic advances and analyses to provide Warfighters with capabilities to succeed on the battlefield."

Scientists and engineers consistently work to assist not only the Army of today, but also in providing solutions for the Army of the future.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory was established in January of 1992, as part of BRAC 1991.

The importance of the technology concerning the U.S. Army was easy to recognize with the start of the Desert Storm ground war in 1991. The United States won pivotal battles as a direct result of advanced technologies. One of the significant battles took place just three days into the war at what is known as the "73 Easting" line in southeast Iraq.

United States Soldiers were directed to advance on Iraqi forces in order to prevent their entrance into Kuwait. With Iraqi commanders well seasoned from the recent Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi home territory advantage, and U.S. troops grossly outnumbered in terms of both militia and tanks, the outlook for American success on the battlefield was dim. The assumption proved to be of no consequence; in just under 30 minutes, Iraqi forces were obliterated and the day was an American victory. Remarkably, not one U.S. Soldier was killed during the battle.

Along with the courage of the troops and Army leadership, a significant factor to the victory was the advanced technology of the United States. The M-1 tanks used by Americans were unmatchable. The technological success of the battle was a major turning point in Army research and technology. Government officials found it necessary to ensure technological efficiency by mandating the consolidation of Army laboratories, thus creating ARL, which holds primary locations at APG and Adelphi, Md.

The ARL-VTD is a specific branch of ARL which specializes in the mobility-related and technological research of Army ground and air vehicles. Researchers conduct studies in propulsion, robotics, vehicle modeling and simulation and mechanics. The VTD ensures the strength and durability of the Army's vehicles, including the M1A1, demonstrated to be far superior to the tanks used by Iraqi soldiers in the "73 Easting" battle.

Page last updated Fri July 24th, 2009 at 13:30