By Hannah Dockery
Don’t be surprised if you’re out on Sullivan’s Island beaches in the next few weeks and notice a giant military vehicle rolling around in the sand and salty waters.
Our beaches have long allured inlanders and vacationers from across the U.S. in search of a sunny escape, but now, a newcomer will be visiting our island with an entirely different purpose. Sometime between March 4 and April 20, professionals from General Dynamics Land-Systems Force Protection will be testing a military vehicle off of the coast of Sullivan’s Island. General Dynamics, located in Ladson, will be testing the vehicle in both saltwater (on Sullivan’s) and freshwater (in Berkeley County). According to officials from General Dynamics, “It is more effective, timely, and efficient for the testing to be done in South Carolina as a part of our continuous efforts to improve our products.” The community, environmental factors, and weather conditions make the island a favorable place to conduct such testing. Sullivan’s Island Town Council approved the testing efforts back in November.
Specifics as to what the amphibious vehicle looks like remain unknown, but once it arrives on the island, it shouldn’t be hard to find; size estimates place the vehicle at around 10’ width x 20’ length x 10’ height. Tommy Pruitt, representative from General Dynamics, says that public safety when testing the vehicle is a top priority, and encourages onlookers to establish a safe range with the vehicle, which will not contain weapons. An on-site tug tow vehicle will be in place, as well as on-site EMT support incase of an emergency. Pruitt assures that emergency action plans are in place.
Total testing time should be around twelve days. The vehicle will be driven daily from a private storage area to the test sight, and driven back to the storage location at the end of the day.
For more information on the General Dynamics Military Vehicle, contact the Town of Sullivan’s Island at 883-3198.