Engineer Equipment

Article excerpt

ENGINEER AND COUNTERMINE EQUIPMENT

The M104 Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge (HAB) is an M1A2 Abrams SEP variant and is operated by a two-man crew. The 26-meter bridge can span gaps of up to 24 meters to support heavy maneuver operations at 16 kilometers per hour. The bridge is computer-controlled and automatically compensates for minor deviations in launch site elevation and terrain rack and cant. The crew can launch the bridge under armor in five minutes and retrieve it in less than 10 minutes. The M104 Wolverine enables decisive maneuver by allowing units to span tank ditches, road craters and partially damaged bridge sections up to 24-meters wide at combat speeds.

As of late 2003, the Army had received all 44 Wolverines covered under the lowrate initial production (LRIP) program.

The Small Emplacement Excavator (see) is an all-purpose, wheeled engineer vehicle that can be configured with a variety of interchangeable tools like a backhoe and a front-end loader. First fielded in the late 1980s on a one-for-one replacement basis for the Army's John Deere 410 tractor, the 4×4 diesel see provides forward combat troops with the capability to support backup units by digging individual fighting positions, bunkers, command posts and other positions for combat equipment.

The M9 Armored Combat Earthmover (M9 ACE) is a highly mobile armored vehicle capable of performing mobility, countermobility and survivability tasks in support of light, medium or heavy forces on the integrated battlefield. First fielded in 1986, this multipurpose engineer vehicle provides the operator with armor protection for operation in the forward portion of the combat area. By raising the dozer blade and using its scraper blade, the M9 ACE can fill itself with ballast to improve dozing efficiency.

The unique hydropneumatic suspension system permits both earthmoving operations and high-speed travel. The system can support force mobility by repairing roadways or clearing obstructions. Likewise, survivability and countermobility missions might include building defensive positions or creating new obstructions to impede hostile forces' movement. Features include a front-end loader/dozer blade and a winch with tow capability.

The Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge (AVLB) is a scissors-type bridge mounted on an M60 or M48A5 main battle tank chassis. The system is designed to provide assault bridging capabilities for maneuver task forces. Capable of being launched without exposing the crew to hostile fire and of subsequent retrieval from either end, the AVLB is intended primarily for hasty crossings of short gaps. In addition, the bridge may be placed over existing bridges or portions of existing bridges to increase their load-carrying capacities.

The bridge can span 18 meters. Initially it was manufactured to support a maximum vehicle-crossing weight of 60 tons. A modified AVLB bridge with a military load classification (MLC) 70 has been developed and fielded in limited numbers.

In addition, the Army has approved an effort to recapitalize a limited number of AVLBs. This will consist of an overhaul of the vehicle and upgrades to the powertrain, suspension, hydraulic and electrical systems, and the MLC 70 version of the bridge. Fielding of these vehicles is scheduled to begin in FY 2006.

The Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) is an air-transportable bulldozer that combat engineers in airborne and other light units and in brigade combat teams will use to prepare airstrips, repair and maintain roads, and create protective fighting positions under some combat conditions. Weighing 35,500 pounds, the high-speed, rubber-tracked DEUCE is self-deployable to forward areas at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour. The air-conditioned cab's bullet-resistant glass provides some protection for the operator. DEUCE fielding began in July 1999.

The Ribbon Bridge/Raft is an interconnecting system of floating bridge sections consisting of ramp and interior bays. …