Following the withdrawal of a second contender for the British Amy’s Project TYRO – for the supply of both tactical and armoured bridging systems – leaves WFEL as the sole bidder, the company announced on 22 February.
Project TYRO aims to provide the Royal Engineers with Close Support Bridge (CSB) and General Support Bridge (GSB) wet and dry gap-crossing capabilities, in battlefield and disaster relief contexts. The CSB are to be deployed from armoured vehicles (AVLB) and a wheeled launcher (WVLB), while the GSB is to be self-deployed, providing MLC 100 (tracked) capability in order to support unrestricted crossing.
WFEL has already successfully complete the Assessment Phase, and the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) was issued last September. Negotiations for the Demonstration and Manufacture phase will commence this summer. The bridging solutions offered by WFEL include the Dry Support Bridge (DSB) - which can be fully deployed by only eight people and a single launch vehicle in under 90mins - for the GSB requirement; while to meet the CSB requirement, WFEL is offering Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s (KMW) LEGUAN, a fully automatic, horizontal bridge-laying capability, providing increased stealth with a low silhouette during a 5min bridge launch and will be adapted to be launched and recovered from existing TITAN AVLB and a new wheeled bridge launcher.
The TYRO Assessment Phase saw WFEL conduct comprehensive stress and fatigue testing, to verify MLC ratings and life expectancy of the different bridge types and also allowing the company to incorporate future bridge fatigue management systems. WFEL and KMW extensively demonstrated the capabilities of their mobile bridging systems against MoD user requirements, with particular emphasis on the systems’ load-carrying capability and overall durability.
WFEL's DSB is one of the world’s most technically advanced, rapidly deployable military bridges of its type. Over 150 systems have already been supplied to the US, Australian, Swiss and Turkish armed forces. Having also been used as temporary infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bridge has been designed and proven for use in both military and disaster relief operations, for up to 120t loads. This significant installed base of equipment ensures that WFEL's DSB customers have a high level of confidence in continued through-life support and spares availability.
The DSB launch vehicle is available on the user’s choice of chassis and its adoption by the Australian Defence Force onto Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles 10x10 fully-armoured chassis has further strengthened the DSB’s market dominance, enhancing the system’s compatibility with UK MoD’s current fleet of RMMV vehicles, including the HX77 variant, already capable of carrying WFEL’s bridge system without modification.
A key requirement for military equipment is interoperability; WFEL's precision engineering manufacturing techniques ensure that any one DSB bridge module is compatible with any other, independent of bridge launcher chassis, allowing swapping and sharing of resources during NATO and other joint exercises worldwide.
Already selected by 19 armed forces, KMW's LEGUAN bridge system demonstrates high degrees of modularity, interoperability and load-carrying capacity, and is well suited to meet the UK’s CSB requirement. Beyond its core ability to launch a bridge under any condition within minutes, the LEGUAN system provides additional features to enhance its tactical value, including night vision systems, laser rangefinder, auxiliary power unit and crew compartment cooling system.
The LEGUAN can be used in military or disaster relief operations and, for both MLC80 and MLC100 bridge types, at either 26 or 14m length, a life cycle monitor system, and a civilian-use kit - consisting of centre cover plates and handrails - is available. To date, KMW has supplied almost 250 tracked and 45 wheeled LEGUAN systems, and almost 500 bridges plus five ferry and floating kits to some 19 users, including many NATO members.