The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a £150m ($190.5m) contract to KNDS UK, based in Stockport, to produce general support bridges. 

The contract, part of Project TYRO, secures 300 North West jobs and aids British Army battlefield mobility.

The support bridges, extending up to 46 metres, equivalent to the length of five buses, are engineered to carry the weight of the Army’s future tank, the Challenger 3. This technology enables the safe traversal of wet and dry gaps, ensuring the movement of personnel and equipment on the battlefield.

Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge emphasised the contract’s importance, stating, “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.” The contract secures hundreds of jobs in Stockport, strengthens the UK’s military capability, and fosters interoperability with NATO allies.

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Replacing the BR90 ABLE system, the new capability is designed to be interoperable with other NATO partners’ bridge systems. This ensures collaborative resource-sharing during joint exercises and deployments, reflecting the UK’s commitment to working closely with international allies.

Mark Bunyan, defence equipment & support fires, infrastructure & manoeuvre support (FIMS) portfolio lead, highlighted the significance of the military equipment, stating, “Project TYRO GSB will enable the UK to maintain an operational advantage and is a great example of British Industry supporting UK Defence Capability.”

The TYRO general support bridge system is mounted on Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicle (RMMV) HX2 tactical trucks and is a rapidly deployable military bridge. 

The integration of advanced bridging technology underlines the UK’s commitment to maintaining an advantage in military operations and fostering stronger ties with international allies.

In 2010, UK-based WFEL secured a contract from the UK MoD to supply a 31m-long medium girder bridge. The bridge was designed for military use in conflict zones and natural disasters, offering easy transportation and quick configuration for tactical bridging requirements. 

Additionally, KNDS UK completed a £53m contract to deliver tactical military bridges to the Australian Army in 2018.