Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) is located 130km southwest of Salt Lake City, in Tooele County, Utah. It is a principal testing facility and range of the US Department of Defence (DoD).
It tests and evaluates the chemical and biological defence systems. It is controlled by the US Army Test and Evaluation command (TECOM).
DPG also conducts technical tests and studies related to incendiary, battlefield smokes and obscurants. It offers services and support for the US and allied foreign governments as well.
The facility is spread over 798,214 acres. Its terrain is composed of salt flats, intermittent sand dunes and rugged mountains. The base employs 1,500 personnel including DoD employees, active duty members, contractors and civilian workers.
US army reserve and US National Guard use the DPG for manoeuvre training activities. The base also serves as a flight testing facility for the US air force.
It performs testing and evaluation of artillery, mortar, mines and different types of special purpose equipment.
DPG history and purpose
The US army chemical warfare service (CWS) recognised the need for a new and more remote testing facility following the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. The Dugway Proving Ground was officially established in March 1942 to satisfy this need and testing activities began in the summer of 1942.
DPG was used to test toxic agents, chemical sprayers, biological warfare weapons, fire bombing techniques, antidotes for chemical agents and protective wear during World War II.
Biological warfare facilities were established at the base in October 1943. The base was slowly phased out after the war and completely inactivated in August 1946.
It was reactivated in 1950 and achieved permanent army installation status in 1954. The US army chemical, biological and radiological weapons school, Maryland, was relocated to DPG.
The base became part of the Major Range and Test Facility Base (MRTFB) in 1971. It was used for ranger school’s short-lived desert training programme from 1985 to 1991. The high resolution fly’s eye ultra-high-energy cosmic ray observatory operated at the base from 1997 to 2006.
The temporary loss of a vial comprising VX nerve agent led to the lock-down of DPG on 26 January 2011. The base resumed its operations on 27 January following the recovery of the material.
The Dugway Proving Ground features a range of facilities including the west desert test centre (WDTC), aerosol test facility, ballistic ranges, a biological test facility, combined chemical test facility, decontamination test facility, cryofracture facility, electronics maintenance facility, hazardous waste management facility, optical maintenance facility, photographic laboratory and software development laboratory. Most of the test facilities are situated in the Ditto Test Area.
The CCTF supports the tests and experiments conducted on chemical warfare defensive equipment. The MTF provides test facilities for large military vehicles and fighter aircraft.
Dugway is home to several radio telemetry and tracking radar sites. The laboratories and chambers at the base create controlled environmental conditions for testing. DPG works in close association with Utah test and training range (UTTR) for hosting military training exercises.
Accommodation facilities include 490 housing units for civilian and contract employees.
Other facilities and services provided are commissary, exchange, restaurants, health clinic, child development centre, youth centre and golf courses.
Dugway Proving Ground air facilities
The Michael Army Airfield (MAA) is located 14km west of the central business district of Dugway.
The airfield has a 3,353m long runway, 20,000ft² hangar, 9,000ft long taxiway, ground support equipment and three instrumented approaches. The airfield supports all types of aircraft and aviation activities. The rapid integration and acceptance centre at MAA supports the development and testing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
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