BizDEFENSE continued from page 143 Warfare Center and School, teaches the art of specialized military freefall parachuting. The school serves all branches of the military and trains elite Army Special Forces, Rangers and Navy SEALS. Yuma has been a key location for the military for more than 150 years. In 1850, Fort Yuma was built to protect the Yuma Crossing, a crossing point on the Colorado River traversed by thousands of travelers every year. In 1865, the Yuma Quartermaster Depot was built to serve as a supply base for Army posts across the Southwest. In the 1890s, the Army ceased active operations in the Yuma area. The area was not reactivated until World War II, when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers opened the Yuma Test Branch to test combat bridges on the Colorado River. Nearby Camp Laguna was built to train troops for mechanized battle. After the war, the facility was repurposed into a test site to determine the effects of desert heat on critical equipment. The site was renamed Yuma Proving Ground in 1963 and in 1971 received the designation as a Major Range and Test Facility Base. Today the site ensures that weapons systems and equipment function safely and as intended. “The reason we exist is to make sure weapons and munitions don’t fail,” Wullenjohn said.
We have multiple sets of missions that we perform and all are focused on issuing troops reliable equipment that will function anywhere in the world. –
Charles C. Wullenjohn, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground
The mission continuously evolves and, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the site is currently focused on the development of unmanned air vehicles. “We play a huge role in the unmanned aircraft world – it’s a growth area. We have 2,000 miles of restricted airspace that testers use to test multiple different types of aircraft. And with six airfields, we offer realistic, real-world scenarios.” With 90 to100 missions performed on any given day, the proving ground is constantly developing and improving advanced air and weapons technologies. Wullenjohn said this is a boon not only to the U.S. military, but its allies as well. “People come from all over the world to see what we do and test their own systems. They frequently participate in developing U.S. technology to purchase it for their own countries. It helps our military and friendly nations too.”
Biz 144 BizTucson
The Tucson Region's Business Magazine