May 28, 2013 -- style="margin: 0in 0in 10pt;">By Monique Randolph, MCSC Corporate Communications
Almost 400 acres is a pretty big stage, but showcasing Marine Corps vehicles on the move calls for a stage bigger than most.
Tucked away at the end of a gravel road in Quantico, Va., the 395-acre Transportation Demonstration Support Area provides land, personnel and even an obstacle course. The Marine Corps and its government and industry partners can demonstrate advances in vehicles and vehicle technologies at the site, said Ben Garza, TDSA manager for Program Executive Officer Land Systems.
“The TDSA allows us to demonstrate platforms currently being used by the Marine Corps, as well as associated vehicle technologies, to senior leaders in the Marine Corps, the Pentagon and Congress,” Garza said.
TDSA is maintained by contract support personnel who maintain about 32 vehicles and their associated parts and equipment, as well as operate and conduct basic maintenance on the vehicles.
TDSA also provides vehicles for Marine Corps Systems Command and PEO LS program management offices to use as static displays for special events and exhibits, Garza said. The team supports conducts about two to three demonstrations a month. In early May they provided a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement as a static display for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics event at the middle/high school on Marine Corps Base Quantico.
Also within the TDSA is the Severe Off-Road Track, or SORT, which includes several obstacles designed to demonstrate vehicle capabilities on the rugged terrain, which may be encountered in a military environment.
The SORT features hills with steep inclines, a staggered rock climb, log crawl and other terrain features that “puts the vehicle through its paces to demonstrate the vehicle’s capabilities,” Garza said.
The SORT gives defense officials and industry partners an opportunity to get a quick, informal assessment of real-world, off-road performance.
In June, the TDSA will host a demonstration where government stakeholders will see the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle in action.
The JLTV is a joint Army and Marine Corps program that will provide a family of vehicles capable of performing multiple mission roles while providing protected, sustained and networked mobility.
“TDSA is a perfect venue to host the JLTV capability demonstration, due to its proximity to the Pentagon and the nation's capital,” said Dave Branham, congressional and public affairs officer for Program Executive Office Land Systems. “The site affords the opportunity for both senior Defense Department leadership and congressional members and staff to engage with the competing JLTV prime vendors and view their static displays, and ride in the prototype vehicles to experience some of the capabilities JLTV will provide to the joint warfighter."