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Detroit Army Arsenal
Part of U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command
Warren, Michigan, USA
Type TACOM
*Research, Development and Engineering Center
*Life Cycle Management Command.
Controlled by US Army Installation Management Command
Garrison US Army Garrison - Detroit Army Arsenal

The Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (DATP) was the first manufacturing plant ever built for the mass production of tanks in the United States. Established in 1940 under Chrysler, this plant was owned by the U.S. government until 1996. It was designed by architect Albert Kahn. The building was designed originally as a "dual production facility, so that it could make armaments and be turned into peaceful production at war's end.[1] Notwithstanding its name, the 113-acre (0.46 km²

) site was located in Warren, Michigan, USA, Detroit's largest suburb.[2]

Chrysler's construction effort at the plant in 1941 was one of the fastest on record.[3]

During World War II, the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant built a quarter of the 89,568 tanks produced in the U.S. overall. The Korean War boosted production for the first time since World War II had ended; the government would suspend tank production after each war. In May 1952, Chrysler resumed control from the army, which had been unable to ramp up production.[1]

As a Government-Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO) facility, Chrysler retained operational control of the production facility until March 1982, when Chrysler sold its Chrysler Defense division to General Dynamics Land Systems. General Dynamics produced the M1 Abrams tank at the facility (and at another plant in Lima, Ohio) until 1996, when the plant was closed and tank assembly and maintenance operations were consolidated[4] at the Lima plant.[5] The plant and some of the adjoining property were transferred to the City of Warren[6] in 2001. The site of the original tank plant has been parcelled up and is now dedicated to civilian uses.[7]

This important Arsenal of Democracy is memorialized by a Michigan Historical Marker.[8]

The structure of the plant was designed to survive bombardment by the weapons of the day. It included 3-foot-thick (0.91 m) concrete walls in some areas and a reinforced roof with slats to direct bombs away from vulnerable windows and exhaust fans.

The base's fire station has a Thunderbolt siren on top. It is a model 1000.

The portion of the property not sold to the city remains an active Army facility as the headquarters of the United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the United States Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. TACOM continues to function at the location, is in fact in a major building boom as of 2010.[9]

The Ground Systems Power and Energy Lab (GSPEL) was recently opened as part of the TARDEC complex. GSPEL is the only facility in the world that will be able to simulate the weather and terrain conditions of almost any locale in the world for the purposes of testing fuel cells and hybrid systems in ground combat vehicles. The Power and Energy Vehicle Environmental Lab (PEVEL) is one of the eight laboratories that make up GSPEL and it can simulate conditions from -60F up to 160F, wind speeds up to 60 MPH and humidity of 95%. It can also simulate any road condition or off-road terrain found anywhere in the world.[10]

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ReferencesEdit

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Coordinates: 42°29′49″N 83°02′30″W / 42.49694°N 83.04167°W / 42.49694; -83.04167

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