Tropic Regions Test Center

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The overbearing environment in which the Tropic Regions Test Center operates challenges military systems and equipment to the maximum. The center features dense, triple canopied old-growth forests that block sunlight and retain moisture from frequent, heavy rainfalls, keeping the temperature warm and the humidity at nearly 100 percent around the clock, all year long.

The Tropic Regions Test Centerís mission is to plan and conduct tropic environmental development tests on a wide variety of military electronic systems, materials, weapons, and equipment of all conceivable types, sizes, configurations and uses. The unique combination of tropic microclimates available at test sites means the individual needs of each customer are flexibly met. Programs are conducted at locations appropriate for each test Ė where conditions are realistic and exactly as needed.

American military forces of the 21st century must be able to deploy and operate effectively around the globe, making testing in the tropics essential. Heat, humidity, solar radiation, insects, fungus, bacteria, rainfall, and numerous other factors combine synergistically to reduce the performance of men, machines, and materials in the tropics quickly. The artificial environments recreated in test chambers can be useful in some aspects of the testing process, but there is no substitute for the synergistic effects of Mother Nature. Only in the natural tropic environment do all negative factors come together to work at the same time. Itís worth remembering that wars are not fought in test chambers.

United States military tropic testing began in 1923, when the Panama Canal Zone was used as a test station for studies on plants and animals. However, severe failures of military equipment in the Southwest Pacific during World War II significantly expanded the tropic testing workload. Testing equipment performance and battlefield concepts continued at full capacity through the long years of the Vietnam War. The need for tropic testing continues today.


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