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U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command National Automotive Center And the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command Announce Official Opening of Severe Off-Road Track (SORT)

COMBATT Vehicles to be Demonstrated at Official Opening

WARREN, Mich., Sept. 16 -- Today the U.S. Army Tank- automotive and Armaments Command's National Automotive Center (NAC) and the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) announced a September 18, 2002 Official Opening of the Severe Off-Road Track (SORT) at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. The two-mile SORT is a permanent demonstration and evaluation course that can be used by the Services and industry to exhibit vehicles and vehicle technologies that show potential for military applications. The location in the National Capital Region facilitates demonstrations to senior military and Congressional leaders. "This valuable asset, the Severe Off-Road Track, is a product of a joint service cooperative initiative between the Army and the Marine Corps," said Dennis Wend, executive director, NAC. "The innovative design of this demonstration course, combined with its location in the National Capital Region, provide an opportunity for Pentagon and Congressional leaders to witness first hand, vehicles and the latest technologies in action." "Marine Corps Systems Command in joint cooperation with the U.S. Army's National Automotive Center is pleased to open the Severe Off-Road Track located at the Transportation Demonstration Support Area on Quantico Marine Corps Base," said CWO-4 Gary E. Dickerson, Transportation Demonstration Support Area. "The SORT provides the USMC, Army and the defense industry an opportunity to demonstrate and evaluate various vehicles in a real world, off- road environment." This unique off-road oval track features numerous challenges designed to approximate what a vehicle might encounter in a military environment, on a border patrol assignment or during a homeland defense mission. The variety and severity of the SORT obstacles gives the Services and industry an opportunity to obtain a quick informal assessment of real world, off-road vehicle performance. The Sept. 18 opening will feature a demonstration of the COMmercially BAsed Tactical Truck (COMBATT). The COMBATT vehicle is a commercial light tactical truck remanufactured to military specifications to enhance payload capacity, mobility and ruggedness of the vehicles. The current COMBATT demonstration vehicles are a modified Dodge Ram 2500/3500, Ford F-350 and Chevrolet Silverado. The NAC is the Army's official link to commercial industry, academia and government in developing important new dual-use automotive technologies that meet the needs of both the defense and commercial industries. The goal is to create vehicles that improve performance, safety and endurance while reducing design, manufacturing, operations and maintenance costs. In order to develop vehicles that meet these objectives, the NAC establishes partnerships with industry and academia. The Marine Corps Systems Command serves as the Commandant's principal agent for equipping the Operating Forces to accomplish their warfighting mission. MARCORSYSCOM expertly manages systems and equipment throughout their entire lifecycle.