In a partnership announced at DSEI, new BAE bridges will be manufactured by General Dynamics before being shipped to the company for assembly and testing.
The new bridges, designed to carry heavier vehicles over longer spans, are in the final stages of test and evaluation.
The new Modular Bridging System is BAE Systems’ bid for the British Army’s project TYRO, which is seeking a replacement for the current BR90 bridge system. The UK Ministry of Defence is expected to choose a replacement in 2018.
Craig Fennell, Future Programmes Director at BAE Systems Land (UK), explained the rationale for the agreement:
“GDELS is a specialist manufacturer with long experience in military bridges, so it brings some extremely valuable experience to this partnership. We will look to continue this partnership as we explore a number of export opportunities for the new system.
BAE Systems’ specialist bridging team designed and manufactured the British Army’s current bridging system, BR90, and has been providing continuous support since it entered service.
Our new Modular Bridging System is fully compatible with the British Army’s existing bridging vehicles, which – if we win the TYRO contract – we will upgrade and rebuild at our Telford site. This partnership combines our extensive bridging and vehicle engineering skills with GDELS’ bridge manufacturing expertise.”
Dr Christian Kauth, VP Bridge Systems at GDELS said:
“We look forward to working with BAE Systems on this project. Rapidly deployed military bridges need to perform repeatedly in much tougher environments than equivalent civilian bridges, so our experience in this area will help give BAE Systems a product that soldiers can trust.”
The modular close support and general support bridging systems have a high degree of commonality, which reduces logistics management compared to two separate systems and enables through-life cost savings.
BAE Systems say their Modular Bridging System can also be fitted with new digital ‘fatigue monitoring’ technology that continuously detects and records bridge strains from vehicle crossings. Sensors transmit data wirelessly to a handheld device that allows soldiers to easily and accurately assess bridge condition. The data from all Modular Bridging System bridges can be collated to assist and optimise equipment management.