To aid soldiers conducting water-based operations overseas, especially in places with no actual bridges, the United States Army has commissioned what is being called the Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB). Developed by the army’s Multi-Role Bridge Company (MRBC), the innovative contraption is basically a floating, foldable system of barges that can be used to create a bridge in less than 30 minutes.
When installed, the IRB allows soldiers to carry supplies, weapons, troops and even vehicles (including tanks) across a river or any other water body. Using highly-specialized folding and unfolding technologies, the system opens up over water into a wide non-skid pathway. According to the developers, the makeshift bridge can be used even in rough, choppy waters, thanks to special splash guards that help prevent flooding.
What is more, the Improved Ribbon Bridge can be laid out and installed with the help of a hydraulic system in under 30 minutes. The system, as the developers point out, comprises of multiple collapsible bays that are connected to one another. Each of these parts is equipped with two ramps, one on each side, to ensure easy loading and unloading.
The foldable bridge can accommodate up to 42 of these bridge bays, extending over a distance of around 210 meters. It can be placed in waters with depths of over 2.2 meters. Any number of bays can be attached to either create a long, uninterrupted bridge or a smaller one for the purpose of ferrying supplies, weapons, soldiers as well as vehicles.
When unfolded, the system can bear loads up to 80 tons for tracked vehicles and nearly 96 tons in case of wheeled vehicles. This nifty technology has been helping army and marine forces cross bridgeless rivers and waterways for the last 14 years.
To learn more about the Improved Ribbon Bridge, watch the following video by AiirSource Military:
Via: Popular Mechanics