General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been awarded a contract for the production and supply of two joint assault bridge (JAB) prototypes to the US Army.
Under the $26m contract, awarded by the US Army Contracting Command (ACC), the company will supply two JAB prototypes, as well as with test support packages (TSP), to the army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, US.
The prototypes delivered under the contract will replace the legacy Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) system, a combat support vehicle currently in service with the US forces.
According to the company, the JAB is a fully tracked armoured engineering vehicle system, specifically designed to provide mobility augmentation companies with bridging capabilities, allowing military vehicles to cross ravines or gorges during combat operations.
The prototypes will provide vehicle crew with protection and survivability equal to the army's M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) fleet and will also add the speed and mobility to keep pace with the manoeuvre force.
The JAB system will be capable of launching and recovering the army's hydraulically actuated AVLB military load class (MLC) 85 scissor bridge.
The US Army currently uses the M60A1 AVLB, a combat engineering vehicle, to assist armoured or infantry units in rapidly deploying tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles across rivers or hazardous terrains with a military load bearing capacity up to class 60.
Developed from the M60 Patton MBT chassis, the AVLB is capable of launching and retrieving a 60ft scissors-type bridge across the obstacle in a short span of time.
Manufacturing work under the JAB engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase contract will be carried out at the company facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan, with completion estimated for August 2014.
Image: An M60A1 AVLB deploying 60ft bridge at Camp Coyote in Kuwait. Photo: courtesy of Kevin Quihuis Jr.