Land Platforms

China fields more capable pontoon bridge

28 December 2018

A scale model of the interior bay of the Chinese HZ PPB in its folded position, showing a gap for the water propulsion system. Source: Christopher F Foss

The China Harzone Industry Corporation Ltd, a subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is marketing its latest HZ Power Pontoon Bridge (PPB) in a Military Load Class 80 (MLC 80) configuration on the export market.

The HZ PPB has been deployed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and can be rapidly deployed over rivers or wet gaps with a velocity of less than 2.5 m/s. In Western military terms, a PPB would be referred to as a 'powered ribbon bridge'.

One standard HZ PPB set consists of two ramp bays and eight interior bays, with each of these elements being transported by a 6×6 cross-country truck and 30 operating personnel. A complete HZ PPB set can be used to form a 104 m long floating bridge in about 15 minutes, and this can then take tracked loads of up to 72 tonnes. The complete bridge is 8.3 m wide and 5 m of that is the carriageway.

In addition to being used as a floating bridge, it can also be used to rapidly construct ferries with a capacity of 20, 40, 60, or 85 tonnes, depending on the number of interior bays used. Each ferry would typically have one ramp bay and a number of interior bays to suit the required load, and each interior bay has a capacity of 20 tonnes.

An individual HZ PPB element is carried folded on the transport vehicle, which then backs to the water's edge and a stabiliser is lowered on either side at the rear. The element then slides into the water where it unfolds. Each of the interior bays has its own water propulsion unit. This feature enables the HZ PPB to be rapidly deployed without motor boats.

The standard Chinese HZ ribbon bridge, which has been deployed by the PLA for many years, consists of 14 interior bays, two ramp bays, and five motor boats.

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