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Brazilian Army modernises its bridging capability

The Brazilian Army’s 5th Armoured Combat Engineer Battalion at Porto União in the state of Santa Catarina, part of the 5th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, officially received a General Dynamics European Land Systems Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB) modular, foldable bridge system in November 2019.

The IRB was purchased by the Brazilian Army Commission in Washington on behalf of the service’s Logistics Command for EUR4.7 million in May 2018 to replace the legacy EWK Faltschwimmbrücke (FSB) system. Training and instruction in Brazil, special tools, accessories, spares, and integrated logistics support were part of the contract, which included some offset transfers.

The Brazilian Army received the first IRB system in 2019 and a second is to follow in 2020. (Brazilian Army)

The Brazilian Army received the first IRB system in 2019 and a second is to follow in 2020. (Brazilian Army)

A second IRB was purchased in May 2019 for EUR3.2 million (USD3.6 million) for the 6th Armoured Infantry Brigade’s 12th Armoured Combat Engineer Battalion in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which presently fields the Krupp lndustrietechnik FSB 2000 bridge system. The new IRB is scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2020, the army told Jane’s .

Brazil’s IRB systems consist of three 8×8 Tatra T815-2T3R42 high-mobility trucks mounting a bridge adapter pallet, two ramp bays, three interior bays, and a single 7 m-long Birdon America's Bridge Erection Boat (BEB), which is powered by 247-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel engine and two NAMJet TJ381HH water jets. The BEB is used to build and position bridging modules prior to vehicle crossing.

Four BEBs with improved boat cradles (IBCs) have been granted by the US government and are to be refurbished prior transfer to Brazil, according to a USD278,578 Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract.

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