APFB Technical Specification

Despite its light weight and portability, the APFB has a military load classification of MLC 35 to carry tracked and wheeled vehicles. It can be used to bridge both wet and dry gaps, employed as an overbridge or deployed as a free ranging ferry system.

APFBs can be deployed and operated quickly by light and fly forward forces or disaster relief teams in a wide range of operational and climatic conditions.

The APFB is designed for ease of transport over land, sea or air and can be configured for transportation using its own trailers, on DROPS flatracks or in standard ISO containers.

APFBs can be carried by C130 Hercules, as underslung helicopter loads or parachuted-in on Medium Stressed Platforms (MSPs). They may also be transported by standard light vehicles, trucks and SUVs in both military and civilian applications.

Chinook carrying a DROPS load
A Chinook helicopter carries a DROPS load into position

APFB is based on the highly successful Medium Girder Bridge (MGB). By incorporating relatively few new components, it extends the MGB system’s capabilities and service life.

The complete APFB system comprises:

APFB Reinforced

The introduction of the new Single Storey Link Reinforcement MGB enables the MGB’s load capacity to be maintained at MLC 35, up to a maximum span of 29.2 metres.

A load capacity of MLC 35 over 29.2 metres
A load capacity of MLC 35 over 29.2 metres

The Link Reinforcement Set includes a new adjustable kingpost, anchor links and tension links, which are used in addition to the standard MGB reinforcement links, pins and tensioning assemblies.

The APFB Reinforced bridge can be built in flowing water. Deployment is faster than with traditional building methods thanks to the introduction of bridge launching/recovery ramps and rollers which allow the bridge to be boomed to the ground.

The APFB Reinforced bridge features a new modular fall arrest system for increased safety during construction.

It comprises of a safety line suspended above each bridge girder. Operators wearing safety harnesses are attached to the safety lines by retractable lanyards during the construction process. This greatly increases safety without increasing build time.

APFB Fly Forward

The APFB Fly Forward is a single span MLC 35 bridge with a span up to 14.5 metres, designed for deployment and operations by light and fly forward forces.

In the Fly Forward role, bridge sections and launching equipment are transported to site on up to six trailers, towable by standard light vehicles. Four of the specially designed folding trailers can be carried on a single DROPS flatrack.

Individually designed components
The top panels are pinned end-to-end

All APFB Fly Forward bridge components have been designed to fit in the available trailer space and minimise weight, including a three-piece bankseat beam, two-piece roller beam and lightweight approach ramps.

The basic APFB Fly Forward consists of two girders, made up of top panels pinned end-to-end, spaced and supported at each end of the bridge by bankseat beams. Approach ramps are fitted at each end and transverse deck units fill the gap between the girders, giving a deck width of four metres.

APFB Overbridge

When traditional bridge structures have been damaged or are not capable of carrying heavy traffic, the APFB Overbridge can be deployed — enabling military or civilian traffic to continue to cross.

The inclusion of wedge plates — carried on the trailer — at key points in the bridge ensures that the APFB Overbridge does not touch the damaged bridge beneath

The APFB Overbridge, with a span of up to 14.5 metres, is rated at MLC 35 both tracked and wheeled. As with the APFB Fly Forward, the Overbridge is deployable by light and fly forward units.

APFB Ferry

An APFB Ferry
An APFB Ferry

The APFB Ferry is a free ranging roll on/roll off ferry rated at MLC 35 for tracked and wheeled vehicles. It is a modular bridge with hinged landing bays at each end, mounted on six pontoons.

The bridge structure is secured in position on the pontoons by six pier saddles. Two of the pontoons are fitted with diesel propulsion units, making it highly manoeuvrable.

The APFB Ferry is based on the proven MLC 27 Ferry, with the addition of a stiff hinge which increases load capacity to MLC 35. Each pontoon incorporates a self-bailing system to allow any water within the pontoon to automatically drain. The hydraulics used to raise and lower the landing bays are powered by the pontoons’ diesel engines.

A pontoon walkway enables crew to move freely when the ferry is carrying large loads.

The APFB Ferry’s six pontoons are carried on two dedicated DROPS flatracks — one powered and two standard pontoons per flatrack. An integrated release system launches the pontoons sequentially into the water, as each pontoon is lowered over the bank. Recovery of pontoons is made by the dedicated DROPS flatrack’s integral winch system.

APFB Transportation

Being modular allows the Air Portable Ferry Bridge system to be configured in a variety of sets to suit a wide range of military or civilian emergency requirements.

The complete APFB system is configured for storage and transportation using six standard and two dedicated pontoon DROPS flatracks.

Unloading from an MMLC
Unloading from an MMLC

Each flatrack load can be transported using MMLC and IMMLC vehicles, underslung from helicopters, in C130 Hercules aircraft, or reconfigured for shipping in ISO containers.

While the complete system provides all the necessary equipment to fulfil the full range of deployment roles, eight DROPS vehicles are required to move it. Should reconnaissance show that only certain deployment roles are required, then the DROPS loads can be reconfigured to reduce the logistic requirement to move it. Five other configurations are possible — reducing the number of vehicles required to as low as three.

APFB for disaster relief

A civilian disaster relief operation
A civilian disaster relief operation

As the December 2004 Tsunami so clearly demonstrated, loss of bridges is one of the critical problems facing emergency relief teams.

In the aftermath of earthquakes to floods, damaged bridges make it simply impossible to move supplies and people in quantity and at speed.

APFB bridges and ferries are ready for immediate deployment in situations wherever crossings need reinstating quickly or rapid new access is required to reach people in need.

Any rapid response team belonging to any army, government department, relief agency or NGO with the necessary resources can deploy the APFB from a centralised or regional depot stock to anywhere in the world within 48 hours.

With an APFB in place and capable of supporting 35 tonne trucks, relief convoys can start rolling immediately.

Transportable anywhere in the world by military — C-130 Hercules or civilian cargo aircraft — an APFB can be towed to the remotest areas by light truck, SUV or flown in by helicopter.

Standard components require no bridge design skills on site making it quick and easy to build by trained personnel, by hand in a few hours, without heavy lifting plant and the final structure is maintenance free.

The APFB has a low environmental impact, because there is no need to construct large foundations which might affect local eco-systems.

APFB — Technical Specifications

The APFB is a deck type bridge of modular construction based on the existing Single Storey MGB in service with 38 armies worldwide.

Fly Forward MGB
Maximum Gap 14.5m
Width 4m
Military Load Classification (MLC) 35
Build Crew 12 + 1 NCO
MGB Overbridge
Maximum Gap 14.5m length (excl. ramps)
Width 4m
Military Load Classification (MLC) 35
Build Crew 12 + 1 NCO
Single Storey Reinforced MGB
Maximum Gap 29.2m
Width 4m
Military Load Classification (MLC) 35
Build Crew 24 + 1 NCO
MGB Ferry
Includes 6 pontoons, of which 2 are powered
Maximum Gap Free Ranging
Width 4m
Military Load Classification (MLC) 35
Build Crew 14 + 2 NCO

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