The Birdon Bridge Erection Boat (BEB) has been selected as part of the Netherlands Armed Forces next generation Wide Wet Gap Crossing solution.
On June 30th, 2023, General Dynamic European Land Systems (GDELS) was awarded the Netherlands contract for three sets of Wide Gap Crossing systems, made up of the Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB), Bridge Adaptor Pallets (BAP), and Birdon Bridge Erection Boats. This award solidifies the combined Birdon-GDELS bridging system as the global standard for Wide Wet Gap Crossings and the go-to solution for NATO allies that require interoperability, reliability, efficiency, and performance when it matters the most.
Alongside GDELS, Birdon was invited to Nijmegen, Netherlands to participate in the official contract award ceremony where a live demonstration of the BEB and IRB took place in front of over 10,000 spectators. The ceremony featured the original ‘Polyboat’ from the 1960s, the current ‘Bootbruggenbouw’ from 1986 and the new Bridge Erection Boat.
Birdon has established a successful track record designing and manufacturing BEBs for the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Armies. Globally, Birdon has delivered 423 BEBs, the bulk of which have been manufactured in its production facility in northeast Denver. The Netherlands BEBs, also to be manufactured in Denver, will feature increased capability for acclimate conditions including an icebreaker bow, new docking and fendering systems, and reduced maintenance and downtime upgrades for maximal operational availability.
“A significant amount of work has gone into securing this program with the Netherlands,” said Jamie Bruce, Birdon Group CEO. “Following our success with the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Bridging Programs, we have been working with end users globally to further develop the requirements for Wide Wet Gap Crossing solutions in both combat and peace time operations. The latest BEB will incorporate experience gained from our ongoing R&D program and we are extremely excited that the Netherlands Ministry of Defense will be receiving the most capable and advanced combined bridging system in the world.”
Birdon’s work to develop Wide Wet Gap Crossing solutions with GDELS and end users continues to prove that partnership between industry and military enables significant growth of capability within the fastest possible time frame. Birdon will include customer specific modifications to the BEB and will deliver and field the first sets of equipment during 2024.
In its primary mission mode, the BEB provides propulsion, thrust and stabilization to support worldwide tactical float bridging and rafting operations. It is specifically designed to provide high thrust and operate in high particulate matter environments including in fresh, brackish and seawater. All functions of the BEB can be performed by no more than a two-person crew. The unique and flexible design of the BEB means it can integrate with most customer specific transport systems. Birdon has also developed a next generation control system capable of remote and autonomous operations. The Netherlands BEBs will include updated systems that enable ease of integration for developing technologies.
Established in 1977, Birdon is an experienced defense prime contractor providing specialized maritime solutions. Birdon is an established and trusted partner of the Australian Defense Force, Brazilian Army and the United States Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Birdon is successfully delivering on major projects for the Australian Navy, Australian Army, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy.