Behind the Scenes: Inside a Top-Secret Tunnel
Near the Clara Barton Parkway

Find out what the massive space is used for.

Most anyone who passes the Carderock exit on the Clara Barton Parkway in Montgomery County can't help but notice a large, white building protected by a battery of surface-to-air missiles. The inside is just as compelling—a dark, dank 3,200-foot-long tunnel that's top-secret enough to be in a James Bond thriller. This is the Naval Surface Warfare Center's David Taylor Model Basin. Built in 1939 and one of the largest such facilities in the world, it holds two side-by-side canals of water (DC tap water, in fact) where engineers test one-tenth-scale models of Navy and Marine Corp vessels, including submarines, battleships, and aircraft carriers.

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Photograph by Sam Kittner.

This article appears in the July 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.

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Posted at 11:50 AM/ET, 07/02/2013 RSS | Permalink | Guides