The Ministry of Defence has announced a £150 million contract with the Stockport-based firm KNDS UK for the provision of general support bridges, an initiative expected to secure approximately 300 jobs in the North West.

KNDS UK, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter, specialises in the production of military bridge systems and is tasked with delivering these new structures based on their Dry Support Bridge design.

Designed to extend up to 46 metres and capable of bearing the weight of the British Army’s future tank, the Challenger 3, these bridges are intended for crossing both wet and dry gaps. The aim is to enhance the operational mobility of the Army, facilitating the safe movement of personnel, equipment, and vital supplies, including humanitarian aid, in various terrains.

The contract marks the transition from the BR90 ABLE system to a new setup that promises interoperability with the bridge systems of NATO allies.

The Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, spoke about the contract, noting, “This is a fantastic example of this government delivering on our Land Industrial Strategy – investing in UK industry and delivering world-class bridging capabilities to our Armed Forces.”

Part of Project TYRO, the contract seeks to bolster the mobility of the British Army’s Armoured Brigade Combat Teams across diverse landscapes. Mark Bunyan, who leads the Defence Equipment & Support Fires, Infrastructure & Manoeuvre Support portfolio, underscored the crucial role of military bridging in operational success, stating, “Military Equipment Bridging is the bedrock of successful operations and is vital to ensuring that our personnel can move around a battlefield in the safest and quickest way.”

The TYRO general support bridge system, set to be one of the most advanced and rapidly deployable military bridges globally, will be installed on Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicle (RMMV) HX2 tactical trucks.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago

They are saying the base model of Ch3 is gaining a ton in weight, but when it get its applique armour fitted. Its weight is now over 80t. Hope they’ve taken this into account?

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hope the engine can cope, it’s not a new power pack, but the same one with a new direct rail injection system. Obviously it works but does make you wonder at what losses it will have with the extra weight?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Look at how much more power has been squeezed out of an average family diesel between then and now…..

Updating the engine management and injection as well as the head can have dramatic effects on power and efficiency….

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

CR3 is just 1 tonne heavier than CR2. TES kit for CR3 will add weight but so it did with CR2.
I never heard that CR2 with TES kit was slow – it had commendable cross-country speed, especially as the suspension was excellent.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

How do you transport 80,000kg on a truck?

Most bridges are not designed for that kind if weight…..

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

? No-one is transporting 80,000kg on a truck.

The bridge is carried on a truck, is then offloaded at the gap, an arm or boom is nosed out, bridge sections being progressively attached to the boom by a small team of Sappers and once built, then the 80,000kg tanks drive over it.

[That’s if CR2 at TES really is 80t – I would have thought it was a few tonnes less than that.]

Last edited 2 months ago by Graham Moore
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I was referring to putting CH3 on the back of a low loader?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Aaah, OK. A HET. RBSL’s infographic states that CR3 is 66t against CR2’s 65t. That is clearly without TES kit. In-service Oshkosh/King HET can take a 66t CR3 and a 72t CR2 (TES).

If CR3 really does go up to 80t with TES kit, then I am not sure if the King GTS100 tlr could take that without strengthening. Not sure. Can’t find max payload figure for the GTS100.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

And only carrying 31 rounds? What do the Leopards and Abram’s carry by comparison? The resupply vehicles, trucks or tracked(?) will be kept busy.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Leo and Abrams carry c.40 rds. We don’t have tracked resupply trucks.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

So the CH3 will be 80tn and only carries 31 rounds? Sounds like a very retrograde step. Is this another stuff up? Why couldn’t they make the turret a tad larger as in wider to fit more 8-9 more rounds? Or, keep Ch3 as is and buy another tank to bolster the numbers or as a complete replacement as some have suggested on other posts!?

Last edited 2 months ago by Quentin D63
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Is the Army happy about this lesser shot capacity on the CH3? I can imagine some would be quite concerned. Okay, it’s a newer gun, NATO compatibility etc, but one shot is one shot. Is it “less is more” here or, “more with less” ?

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

This did make me think 🤔

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

If tanks were only defending against HEAT rounds. Life would be a lot easier, as you’d only need spaced armour. Which would make the tank significantly lighter. Unfortunately, Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) requires a different method of armour protection. Where the shear velocity of the dart can turn metals to a fluid line state on impact. These darts are made out of either a tungsten alloy or depleted uranium. Where their density overmatches basic steel armour. To defeat them you need to at a minimum match the dart’s material density and hardness. But also to cause the… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks for the great reply DB. Yes, it’s not just offensive ability but also the equally very necessary protection especially these days. I just think the 31 capacity is quite a drop from the ch2 (49?) and with so few tanks is there a actual loss of offensive ability here? I imagine that tanks won’t operate in isolation and that other systems need to be taken into account.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Not a stuff up but an inevitable situation given that the hull was sized and designed for the 3-piece 120mm rifled round, not the very long (1m long) 1-piece smoothbore round, and seemingly can’t be adapted to fit a large number of the longer smoothbore rounds.
No idea about the number of ready rounds in the turret bustle. Wider turret of course would increase visual and radar signature, and its extra weight might make traverse speed slower.
Keep Ch3 as is? Do you mean keep Chally 2 as is?

Buy another tank? – a bit late to contemplate that now.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’ll never be in a tank anytime soon but if I was I’d like to have as many rounds as possible particularly if your adversary is likely to have more tanks you. 49 to 31 is like a 25% difference. This must create more stress on the frequency of the resupply vehicles.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Just did the math, 49-31=18/49=37% drop. Happy to be corrected here.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Classically resupply of tanks is done every night under cover of darkness when they are leaguered up (in a leaguer) but if required resupply could be done at other times.

Whether this is a real issue all depends how many rounds a tank gets through in a day – it will vary. I have no stats on this.

Last edited 2 months ago by Graham Moore
Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks Graham. Another silly question. Why can’t they make the smoothbore round shorter or even two piece? To help squeeze more in. There’s more handling, but a 1 metre 1 piece shell is pretty huge. And I imagine with the next 130mm tank guns, even longer?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Two piece is of course somewhat slower to load. All 120mm smoothbore ammunition is I believe 1-piece. We Brits would not create our own 2-piece ammunition having finally arrived at the situation where we are now compatible with the rest of NATO. We had 2-piece rifled rounds before (eg, CH, CR1, CR2). As for shorter – ammunition is not my speciality but I am sure the only way that could be done is with a case telescoped design – not sure if that has been looked at for such a large calibre. The snag is that the short round would… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Graham Moore
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Also, the K2 Black Panther can fire about 10 rounds per minute with a total supply of 40 various rounds.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

There must have been other tank choices to go with and UK upgrades but if this is an interim solution you hope the actual next tank decision is a good one too!
Just thinking that if the UK bought the Leopard or K2 or semi-manufacturered under license you could call it a “Lion” to make it more British 🇬🇧… perhaps. 😆

Last edited 2 months ago by Quentin D63
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

CR2 should have been subject to frequent upgrades over the years – and then replaced after 25-30 years service, by perhaps a revolutionary rather than evolutionary design.

But…..

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

I’ve never thought that that rate of fire is essential in an MBT, but happy to be advised by any tankies or tankers on this site.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Will it have any counter drone system on it?

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Probably in due course. But when the technical specifications were put together for upgrading Challenger. Drones weren’t seen as much of a threat. The Ukrainian war has changed that. I would expect at the very least the tank to carry radio jammers tailored towards the standard frequencies used to control drones.

Israel will be the main driver for developing kinetic drone countermeasures. As they are very good at rapidly developing and fielding a solution. So yes in time I fully expect to see Ch3 with a kinetic means of taking out drones from distance.

AJP1960
AJP1960
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Plans are to fit Trophy

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  AJP1960

Which is not designed to counter Drones.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Are you sure the applique armour for CR3 is 14 tonnes ie to take the tank from 66t to 80t? I have not seen that stated anywhere.

Of course this is taken into account with military bridging, HETs etc. The ILS process covers this.

Last edited 2 months ago by Graham Moore
DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I have now seen it written in two publications. Not saying that they are correct. But isn’t Chally 2 with the full TES fitted about 80t? If RBSL have said that the Chally 3 base vehicle is now 1t heavier than a Chally 2. Adding the TES kit would likely be about the same weight. The reports are that the new applique is even more effective than the Chally 2’s version.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

My knowledge is somewhat dated but I recall that Chally 2 with TES kit was 72t. If thats still the case then CR3 (TES) would be about 73t. But I doubt that is in Open Source literature. I would hope that modern armour was more effective than old armour.

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Haven’t spoken to my cousin for a while, as he was also REME on Chally’s supporting the Royal Scots Dragoons, before they went to the light recce role. Yeah I’ve seen it stated Chally 2 with TES at 72t before. But I’ve also seen it at 79 and 81t. I am hoping that the Chally 3 isn’t over 80t. As that will severely restrict where it can operate, along with which bridges it can use. In one of the publications they do mention the increased effectiveness of the new appliqué armour over the previous. So hopefully it is also lighter… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hi Davey, I only ever saw the CR2 TES weight at 72t.
UKR are saying that CR2 is heavy for the ground that it is operating on – no kidding! They are used to much lighter T-series tanks.

Maybe we won’t ever see a figure for CR3 TES weight if it is classified info. I too hope it is not over 80t. Be interesting to see if HET King trailer gets upgraded – maybe not if CR3 with TES is no heavier than CR2 TES.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago

Hands up I know very little about Army engineering equipment. But if this is designed to go on a Truck is it anything to do with the photo of a tracked armoured Bridge layer ?
I’m no expert but isn’t that an old German Leopard 1 Chassis ?

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Titan is supposed to be converted to the Leguan type bridge in the photo above.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacko
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Meaning horizontally launched rather than scissors-launched? I had not heard that Titan was being converted thus. Do you have details or a link/reference?

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

https://www.bridgeweb.com/Sole-bidder-remains-for-UK-military-bridging-tender/7482
its a bit old so whether it’s still under consideration or not

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

http://www.bridgeweb.com 26 Feb 2021

its and old link but the leguan bridge was offered by WFEL.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

My link has been deleted 🙄WFEL were offering it and it was on their website back in September 2021?

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacko
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Thanks. I doubt that the impoverished MoD money tree would cover the considerable cost of modifying 33 Titans, what with the EP black hole etc.

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

No, its a bridge carried and built in parts . The truck reverses up to the gap and a long arm stretches’ over to the other side, the bridge is then then built in situ and supported under that arm, as it gets longer it moves along until it bridges the gap and is lowered into position. The use of the arm and the truck as the assembly area negates having to build a separate frame (in which to build and level that frame regards the MGB Google Dry support bridge gravitate to the WFEL site and there’s a video… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Thanks Farouk that makes sense shame the photo doesn’t.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The photo does not relate to the equipment under discussion in any way.
Well done for spotting the photo is a pic of a Leo AVLB.

Smickers
Smickers
2 months ago

Shame I did not know that the name Fairey had become history WFEL Ltd becoming KNDS UK last year

Mark F
Mark F
2 months ago
Reply to  Smickers

WFEL (formerly William Fairey Engineering Ltd), have been part of the KMW (Kraus Maffe Weghman) group for a number of years. It was the formation of KNDS (KMS, Nextur Defence Systems) a couple of years ago that resulted in the updated branding as a KNDS company.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

Over the years I have often thought that the Sappers have always done quite well with equipment procurement, eg Titan & Trojan, BR90, M3 rig, bar mine layer, CET and its successor, Terrier etc

Much was state-of-the-art at inception, the procurement went well, they got enough kit and it has aged well – and new kit is introduced when required.

As a REME guy, I was envious – CRARRV is over 35 years old, with only modest protection levels, with no sign of replacement, and much (not all) of it is CR1-era technology.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
2 months ago

Won’t need them in the Yemen