WFEL continues to span the globe with new £53m contract

Tactical military bridge manufacturer, WFEL has secured contracts worth £53m with the Australian armed forces in a boost to the UK defence sector.

The agreement will see WFEL supply its Medium Girder Bridges (MGBs) and Dry Support Bridges (DSBs) to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

WFEL has been designing and manufacturing tactical military bridges in Stockport since the 1970s.
WFEL has been designing and manufacturing tactical military bridges in Stockport since the 1970s.

The bridges provide temporary infrastructure and have the potential to be used in combat situations and in the event of natural disasters.

They will be manufactured at WFEL’s production facility in Stockport with delivery expected to begin by autumn 2017.

WFEL chief executive, Ian Wilson explained: “This is another major contract for us and one which extends our long-standing relationship with the ADF.

“Our Dry Support Bridge is the world’s most technically-advanced, rapidly-deployable military bridge of its type, while the Medium Girder Bridge’s modular design continues to prove its worth in both combat and natural disaster relief situations time and again.

Wilson continued: “By choosing to order both bridge types, the ADF is ensuring it has the future capability to quickly cross physical terrain as complex as rivers, ravines and man-made gaps as efficiently as possible and under the widest possible operational scenarios.

“As the leading tactical military bridge maker globally, we continue to work to provide solutions for established customers like the ADF, as well as building relationships in emerging markets across the world.”

First entering service more than 30 years ago, the MGB has played a major role in both military and disaster relief operations around the world and is used by over 40 armed forces worldwide.

Under the ADF contract, WFEL will supply double-storey, link-reinforced MGB bridge sets which can span up to 49m – supplemented with additional equipment to allow bridges of up to 76m.

WFEL will also supply DSBs which can be deployed by just eight people in under 90 minutes. The bridges will be specially manufactured by WFEL to be launched from the ADF’s RMMV Rheinmetall MAN 10 x 10 fully-armoured military vehicles.

The DSB – of which over 130 systems have been sold – is already in use with the US, Swiss and Turkish armed forces, and has been used as temporary infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both the MGBs and DSBs will be supplied with additional walkways, which allow foot traffic to safely cross the bridge away from vehicular traffic.

The growing adoption of this supplementary equipment shows the greater involvement of the military worldwide in support of natural disasters and illustrates the dual-role capabilities of the range of WFEL bridging systems.