Bridge layers have to be about the closest thing in the real world to a Transformer, giant fold up, extendable instantly deployable bridges that are most often fixed to modified tanks.
This is a list of the 9 unique military vehicles that carry its own road. These vehicles we don’t usually see every day.
1. M60A1 Armored Vehicle Landing Bridge
The M60A1 armored vehicle launched bridge (ALVB) is exactly what it sounds like: a mobile, armored bridge. There’s not always time to wait around for engineers to erect a crossing, so the AVLB carries on its back a 60-foot bridge strong enough and wide enough to support just about every land vehicle in the arsenal — including itself.
2. EFA or Engin de Franchissement de l’Avant
The EFA or Engin de Franchissement de l’Avant (forward crossing apparatus) is a field-deployable river crossing apparatus, used by combat engineers in the French Army. It may either be used as a bridge (deployed in a series), or as a ferry.
The EFA is the heir of the first self-propelled bridging vehicle invented in 1955 by the French military engineer and general Gillois Jean. Tray Gillois entered service with the French army in 1965. A version modified by EWK was successively adopted by the American, British and German militaries. At the time of its introduction it was able to carry vehicles up to a maximum weight of 25 tons, the current version supports loads of about 50 tons. It takes between 45 and 65 minutes to form a bridge 100 meters long. Tray Gillois avoids the heavy and bulky convoys, barges brought in by road, which are sensitive to enemy attacks. It takes about half a day to create a 100 metre deck. <link>
3. Russian MTU-72 Armored Bridgelayer
Trenches and water obstacles won’t stop the MTU-72, an armored bridgelayer introduced by the Soviet Army in 1974. Based on a medium-sized battle tank, this design folds out a horizontal cantilevered bridge, as opposed to a vertical bridge that could easily be spotted by the enemy from far away. It can span a gap of nearly 60 feet and takes just 3 minutes to deploy. <link>
4. Inflatable Ball Bridge
What’s the military to do when a gap is just too broad to span with a conventional bridge vehicle? Inflate a bunch of balls and top them with sections of road, of course. The Lightweight Modular Causeway System was first tested in 2010 and may be used for earthquake response when other structures are damaged. <link>
5. LEGUAN 26M AVLB – Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge
Insanely long, the LEGUAN Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge can span up to 85 feet, and multiple units can be used to create even longer tandem bridging. It’s fully automatic with electronic controls and it takes just a single operator to lay the bridges in less than five minutes. With a few pieces of extra equipment, it can even be turned into a ferry. <link>
6. Churchill Bridgelayer
A variant of the Churchill tank, the bridge layer was created by the Royal Engineers and carried a 30ft long Small Box Girder (SBG) bridge. This proved invaluable for crossing many water filled obstacles as the Allies progressed across Western Europe after D-Day.
7. WFEL M18 Dry Support Bridge
WFEL Limited returns to Defence Services Asia DSA 2008. WFEL are a team specialists who understand what military users need from tactical military bridges and have consistenly exceeded therir expectations over the last 40 years. The company is a prime contractors to the UK ministry of Defence, US Department of Defense and supplier to 38 armed forces worldwide. One of the product of WFEL is the M18 Dry Support Bridge. The US Army chose the M18DSB as it preferred bridging solution after a rigorous international selection process. The DSB underwent Operational Testing with repeated missions at Fort Hood, Texas, after which the WFEL DSB achieved : full materiels release in April 2003 and M18 classification. With over 50 systems on order and a total requirement of well in excess of 100 systems the DSB is set to become the new world leader.<link>
8. Valentine Bridgelayer
The bridge option Valentine tank was used for the transportation and installation of the Bridge, the length of the haul amounted to 10 meters. The maximum load the bridge was 30 tons. The vehicle became useful not only in the British army’s operation in Italy, Burma and northwestern Europe, but 25 aircraft were also sent to the Soviet Union.
9. Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying System M3
The M3 is the world’s most modern, most efficient and fastest amphibious bridging and ferrying system, it reduces construction time dramatically and provides increased maneuverability and mobility in the water. The M3 is currently used by the armies of Germany, UK and Taiwan ROC.
Powered by a diesel engine (Euro III standard) and equipped with two water pump jets for marine operations, M3 provides wet gap crossing capability for today’s highly mobile ground forces and a wide range of missions. State-of-the-art technology, easy handling and supportability and a high system reliability allow the construction of a 100 m (328 ft) floating bridge in less than 15 minutes by 24 soldiers only. Four-wheel drive and two-axle steering, a tire-pressure adjusting system and a climbing capacity of up to 60 % allow M3 to follow combat troops wherever they go. <link 1, link 2>
LEGO Bridging Vehicle
The bridge itself has no servos and takes about a minute to be deployed. Once it’s in place, the vehicle can step aside to let other vehicles cross, cross the bridge itself and then retract the bridge. <link>