Birdon’s Bridge Erection Boat (BEB) played a pivotal role in allowing maneuver elements from the 3rd Infantry Division and the 18th Airborne Corps to complete a complex water crossing exercise last month. According to a report in the Army Times, troops from the 92nd Engineer Battalion’s 497th Multi-Role Bridge Company “successfully helped a Bradley Fighting Vehicle carrying cavalry scouts and a M1A2 SEPV3 Abrams tank from 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor cross a water obstacle at the South Georgia post.”
“We’re proud to supply the BEB as an essential force multiplier for the United States and its allies,” said Jim Ducker, BEB Program Manager. “The successful crossing is yet another example of the unequalled capabilities of the Birdon BEB and General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB).”
The exercise is especially noteworthy because it successfully crossed a SEPV3 Abrams tank, the heaviest version of the M1 Abrams. A successful crossing using the SEPV3, which weighs just over 70 tons, demonstrates the superior thrust, maneuverability, and power capabilities of Birdon’s BEBs. According to the Army Times, “the exercise was the first time the SEPV3 Abrams model… had crossed a water obstacle at an East Coast base.”
The completion of this exercise has major implications for military movements in Europe and East Asia, where a high number of rivers and wetlands require increasingly efficient wet gap crossings to enable freedom of maneuver in operations. Just last year, Russian forces lost an entire battalion attempting to execute a wet gap crossing operation in eastern Ukraine.
In June 2023, GDELS was awarded a 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 (BEB). 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 with the US Army, reliability, efficiency, and performance when it matters the most.
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.
Birdon has established a successful track record designing and manufacturing BEBs for the Australian, Brazilian and U.S. Armies. Globally, Birdon has delivered 431 BEBs, the majority of which have been manufactured in its production facility in northeast Denver.
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, United States Department of Defense, and the 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.
Picture taken from Army Times.