The Australian Defence Force has taken delivery of the first scheduled tranche of WFEL’s rapidly-deployable military bridges, which are to be used in combat support and disaster relief operations.
The delivery included dry support bridges (DBSs) and medium girder bridges (MGBs).
WFEL said this delivery, which includes some of the first configurations of the DSBs launching vehicle on a fully-armoured Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicle (RMMV) 45m 10x10 chassis, is a milestone for the project. The DSBs, capable of carrying over 120 tonnes, have been delivered following extensive trials at the UK’s Millbrook Proving Ground, to verify both off-road and on-road capability and in accordance with a series of demanding mandated specifications, audits and project reviews determined by the Australian government.
Also supplied for Land 155 are WFEL’s double-storey, link-reinforced MGB systems, which can span up to 49 metres and which will be supplemented by additional portable pier and span equipment, allowing bridges of up to 76 metres to be constructed.
As the bridges provide temporary infrastructure for use in the ADF’s combat support and disaster relief operations, both DSB and MGB systems are being delivered complete with walkways, to allow the separation of vehicular traffic from pedestrians.
The DSB, which can be launched by just eight personnel within 90 minutes, is already in use with the US, Swiss and Turkish armed forces, and has been proven in the field as temporary infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan. WFEL is also currently fulfilling further DSB orders for the US Army in support of its European Deterrence Initiative.
Ian Wilson, chief executive of WFEL said the equipment supplied under the project will enhance the ADF's capabilities.
"WFEL’s long-standing relationship with the Australian Defence Force began over 30 years ago, when they chose our medium girder bridges. We are delighted to continue to support them today, this time not only with further MGBs, but with a significant capability enhancement through the purchase of the latest mechanised DSB. The adoption of the DSB not only provides the ADF’s Manoeuvre Commanders with the ability to cross significant wet or dry gaps quickly and efficiently, it allows a level of interoperability with an ever-growing user base.
"This significant and growing installed base of DSB equipment, allied to our fully-operational production line, ensures that WFEL’s customers have a high level of confidence not only in our products but also in our continued through-life support and spares availability."
WFEL will complete final delivery of the ADF’s bridges by September 2018.