At 9:05 a.m. today, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle preceded by a pickup truck came rumbling down Columbus' Front Avenue from under the 13th Street Bridge.
It had moved only a block when its advance temporarily was halted, by the red light at 12th Street.
It was the first vehicle to head down Front in an hours-long test in which Fort Benning's U.S. Army Infantry Center Battle Lab will see if soldiers in a Bradley can use a new camera system to detect enemies in a cluttered urban setting.
As the first Bradley circled back from where it turned around at Ninth Street, soldiers in civilian garb with black pipes jumped from white Army vans and crouched behind walls and shrubs, poised with the pipes on their shoulders aimed like weapons at the passing Bradleys.
Soldiers said the first Bradley was the standard M2A3 vehicle currently used in combat. At 10 a.m., a second vehicle equipped with the new camera equipment came roaring down Front toward Ninth, as other soldiers with black pipes again took positions on the roadsides.
The test scenario is to continue until about 1 p.m.
From 2 to 4 p.m., the Bradleys will be on public display in the Front Avenue median just south of Ninth Street, between the Marriott Hotel and the Iron Works Convention & Trade Center. Civilians there can look inside the vehicles and talk to soldiers about the Bradleys and the experiment.