Proud Of Our Past, Focused On Our Future
COL Morris L. Bodrick Commander, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center
This year we are celebrating 100 years of excellence in Army testing.
Aberdeen Test Center (ATC) has a long and accomplished history. It was founded as the Proof Department when the Army moved all testing from Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to an area of farmland on the Chesapeake Bay, which we now call Aberdeen Proving Ground. The first test shots were fired in January 1918, and since then, testing equipment, developing technology and meeting the needs of the Warfighter has been our mission. We have tested equipment used in every war since World War I, a monumental task performed by a great team of Americans.
This test center has made many advancements in technology. Beginning in 1918, the Aberdeen Chronograph was invented to accurately measure velocity of projectiles, a game changer in improving performance. Phillips Army Airfield, still active today, was established in 1923 to test and develop dive bombing tactics at a time when the use of aircraft in combat was changing how we fight.
In 1947, the world’s first digital computer was developed at APG, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), which weighed 30 tons, required 18,000 tubes and had a 100- ft front panel. In 1952, we received the first atomic artillery piece for testing, and by the mid-1970’s, ATC was testing the first variants of the Main Battle Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicle. A decade later, we performed some of the first Live Fire testing and analysis on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M1 Abrams tank.
We continued to develop new capabilities, opening the Underwater Explosion Test Facility to allow underwater explosions in a controlled environment, as well as the Accelerated Corrosion Facility, Bridge Crossing Simulator, Roadway Simulator and Littoral Warfare Environment, all vitally important technological advances.
We’re positioned to move into the future, embracing technological progress and meeting the demand to test faster, and more efficiently, ensuring that our Soldiers have equipment that is safe, suitable, survivable and effective.
As Commander of this great organization, it is my priority to honor the contributions of our past and forge a path forward, building capabilities to test the military systems of tomorrow. The foundation for tomorrow is the team we establish today. We have put a priority on building that team to meet our ever-changing requirements, as well as investing in emerging technology such as robotic/autonomous system testing, cyber security, advanced modeling and simulation, and data collection, reduction, analysis and visualization (Big Data). As my Technical Director, Mr. John Wallace, has said, “We need to focus on where we want to be 10, 20, 50 years from now.”
My message is simple: Be proud of what this test center has accomplished, be hungry for where we need to go. I am proud of ATC’s past, honored to be a part of its present and focused on its bright future.
“Building Toward the Future”