New M1 Abrams Tank-Bridge

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jab bridge
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  • The Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) is designed to lay bridges over water and other obstacles.
  • The JAB ensures that Army units always have a portable bridge handy capable of handling the weight of tanks.
  • The new bridge layer replaces an older model that’s more than 50 years old.

Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) are testing a new tracked vehicle system designed to quickly lay down tank-capable bridges in a matter of minutes. The new Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) can unfold a 60-foot-long bridge in just 3 minutes, allowing tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to cross rivers, ditches, craters, and other battlefield obstacles.

The JAB replaces the older Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB), a vehicle so old, the tank it’s based on is no longer in service.

military vehicles

An early example of a bridge laying tank based on the Churchill infantry tank chassis, World War II.

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Long ago, mechanized warfare, the domain of tank and other infantry fighting vehicles, saw the need for specialized bridging units. Armored vehicles are considerably heavier than their civilian counterparts, and many bridges worldwide aren’t rated to carry 50-plus-ton main battle tanks. Heavy armor units might also need to cross rivers and other water obstacles that are too deep to ford, or anti-tank ditches dug by the enemy to restrict maneuver.

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