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FNSS announced on 4 May that it is to collaborate with Hyundai-Rotem to offer the OTTER Armoured Amphibious Assault Bridge (AAAB) for evaluation by the Ministry of Defence of the epublic of Korea (RoK) to meet that nation’s wet gap-cri=ossing requirement.
The AAAB is a bridge and ferry system designed for fast, safe transport through wet gaps in the battlefield; a large number of the vehicles, developed and produced by FNSS under the administration of the Turkish Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), are already in service with Turkish land forces. The only 8x8 vehicle in its class currently on the market, the AAAB provides users with high cross-country mobility and amphibious performance.

An all-wheel 8x8 drive with central tyre inflation and adjustable ride-height control provides extremely agile off-road driving performance, especially on loose and muddy terrain. All-wheel steering minimises the vehicle-turning radius. The vertical obstacle and trench-crossing capabilities (up to 60% gradient and 30% side slope) also benefit from the 8x8 drive.

The AAAB system has two water pump jets that provide advanced water mobility, enabling the vehicle to demonstrate 360° manoeuvres in high river currents, such as pivot turns and side moves. Axles are retractable for water operations to decrease water drag. In its ferry role, a single AAAB system can transport MLC 21-class tracked vehicles. Two AAAB systems coupled can easily transport an MLC85 T vehicle. By coupling three systems from ramp to ramp, up to MLC120 W vehicles can be transported across a wet gap. As well as its role as a ferry, 12 AAAB systems can be combined from ramp to ramp to construct a 150m bridge capable of carrying MLC85 T & MLC120 W vehicles. Rapid construction time ensures improved operational capability and survivability.

In terms of self-sufficiency, the AAAB can carry four ramps on a single system, in addition to a self-recovery winch, which recovers the vehicle or any other system, especially in soft terrain such as river banks. Additional unique features distinguish the AAAB from its peers: in terms of survivability, the three-man crew cabin has ballistic armour protection, automatic fire suppression and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) filtering systems; the distributed vetronics architecture includes an onboard diagnostics system (CAN bus structure); front and rear cameras enhance situational awareness; and the vehicle is also equipped with a standard anchoring mechanism (both emergency and land anchoring systems). The AAAB is a NATO-certified vehicle and supports all current NATO requirements, such as river state, deployment and transportation. Rapid assault wet gap crossing at the lowest logistics burden and saltwater operational capabilities are other significant advantages of the system.

The proposed collaboration will see Hyundai Rotem as prime contractor and FNSS acting as technology partner. Complete production of the AAAB will be performed in RoK, with the aim of maximising indigenous production by including a range of local companies in the supply chain, to include local subsystems production. Being the principal wheeled armoured vehicle supplier of the Korean Army, Hyundai Rotem’s in-depth experience and considerable production capabilities are significant assets for executing such an important programme. The two companies have complementary expertise in the manufacture of engineering vehicles, which make them ideal for the proposed partnership.

FNSS has amassed significant expertise in the development and production of advanced amphibious bridging equipment. (Photo: FNSS)

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