US Army Bridge Erection Boats (BEB)

Birdon is delivering up to 491 Bridge Erection Boats (BEB) to the US Army with a contract value of approx AUD515, in place to 2024. The original contract award was the culmination of four years of design, tender submission and prototype trials based on Birdon’s Bridge Erection Propulsion Boat design for the Australian Army. The contract was extended in 2019 based on Birdon’s good performance over the previous 5 years – a strong endorsement by the US Army of Birdon’s capacity to deliver to schedule and on budget.

The vessels are road, air and sea transportable and are used to construct and manage floating ribbon (pontoon) bridges for mobile armoured units. When coupled to a bridge section they can also be used to ferry military vehicles across open water.

A key component of the design is the NAMJet propulsion unit (water jet) which provides significantly more thrust at lower speeds than other water jets on the market today.

BEBs are a vital mobility asset for any army requiring water crossing capability. They are used to manoeuvre floating modules to create bridges or act as ferries across strategic waterways while also providing thrust anchorage against strong currents during bridge construction and operation.

The importance of this type of bridge system was reinforced during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, when the US Army took only five hours to build a 600-metre ribbon bridge across the Tigris River. This was the longest floating bridge constructed in a combat zone since WWII.

The US Army BEBs have NAMJet Traktor water jets which produce 30% more thrust and a significantly higher top speed of 24 knots. NAMJet (North American Water Jet) is owned by Birdon.