Land Platforms

Netherlands orders Leopard 2 bridgelayers

22 December 2016
Leopard 2 hull modified to transport and launch a Leguan 26 m bridge over the front of the hull. Source: Krauss-Maffei Wegmann

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) announced on 21 December that it has been awarded a contract to supply five Leguan armoured vehicle launched bridges (AVLBs) to the Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA).

Under the terms of this agreement these Leguan AVLBs, converted from existing Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) chassis, will be delivered to the RNLA between 2019 and 2020. The new AVLBs will replace the RNLA's existing Biber AVLBs, which are based on a Leopard 1 MBT chassis.

KMW said the contract had been placed by the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment (BAAINBw) on behalf of the Dutch Procurement Office (DMO), but did not specify the value of the deal.

The contract also includes training equipment, spares and an option for additional Leguan systems.

The Leopard 2 Leguan AVLB is capable of carrying two 14 m bridges or one 26 m bridge, both of which are launched while the crew remain under full armour protection. Both bridges are 4 m wide, with the 14 m bridge taking five minutes to lay and the 26 m bridge taking six minutes. There is also a tandem bridge capability to enable wider gaps to be crossed.

The original Leguan bridges were designed to support vehicles up to 70 tonnes, Military Load Class 70 (MLC 70), but the latest production systems are to MLC80 to take into account the increased weight of armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) such as the Leopard 2 MBT and PzH 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer (SPH). The Biber AVLBs set to be replaced are built to the MLC60 standard and carry a shorter 20 m bridge.

The RNLA is the sixth customer for the Leopard 2-based AVLB with the others being Germany, Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland. The Singapore contract has never been confirmed by KMW but it is understood that these are based on new Leopard 2 hulls rather than conversions of older platforms, as is more typical.

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