UK MOD awards WFEL military bridging contract

Harry Lye 12 October 2020 (Last Updated October 12th, 2020 17:31)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded WFEL a contract for 17 sets of its MGB Medium Girder Bridges worth more than £46m.

UK MOD awards WFEL military bridging contract
MGBs were deployed by the US Marine Corps during Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. Image: US Marine Corps

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded WFEL a contract for 17 sets of its MGB Medium Girder Bridges worth more than £46m.

Under the contract, the first two bridging sets will be delivered by 2021, with the rest due to be fulfilled by December 2025.

The MGB bridging sets will be used to support planned STRIKE Brigades manoeuvre capabilities. The contract followed a review of the MOD’s gap crossing capabilities, which was drawn up with a view to streamline bridging capabilities.

The new systems will be used by the Royal Engineers for both military operations and emergency relief situations.

WFEL said the MGB Bridging sets can be set up in a number of ways, adding: “Configurations include concurrent deployment of both a 31-metre Double-Storey and a 5-bay Single-Storey version.”

Commenting on the contract, Defence Minister Jeremy Quinn said: “This £46 million contract of new military bridges not only secures jobs within Stockport, but also supports a significant number of jobs in the wider UK supply chain.”

“These bridges provide our Armed Forces with vital capabilities in both Military and Disaster Relief operations.”

The contract will maintain 50 jobs at WFEL and is expected to create an additional 15-20 positions.

Royal Engineers Major Tom Exelby said: “The MGB will provide light-weight medium gap capability to Very High Readiness forces and will form a significant element of the STRIKE Brigade’s manoeuvre support capability.

“MGB was chosen for its versatility and deployability to meet the challenges of the future integrated operating concept.”

Over 500 MGB bridging systems are in operation with a number of militaries around the world including a number of NATO countries. In 2018, under its Land 155 programme, the Australian Department of Defense took delivery of new MGBs.

WFEL added: “The ADF [Australian Defence Forces] chose double-storey, link-reinforced Medium Girder Bridge variants, spanning up to 49 meters, supplemented by additional portable Pier and Span equipment, allowing bridges of up to 76 meters to be constructed.”

The company is also involved in production of the British Army’s new Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV), under a contract signed between the MOD and Artec late last year.