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Update: Netherlands orders GDELS bridging systems

The Netherlands ordered three Improved Ribbon Bridge systems from GDELS – Bridge Systems on 30 June. (GDELS)

The Netherlands signed a contract for three new bridging systems with General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) – Bridge Systems on 30 June, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website the same day. A GDELS spokesperson told Janes on 5 July that the systems are Improved Ribbon Bridges (IRBs) and will be produced in Kaiserslautern, southwestern Germany, but he declined to give the contract value. A Dutch MoD spokesperson told Janes on 10 July that the financial volume of the contract was in the EUR25–100 million (USD27–110 million) range.

The spokesperson said the procurement of a wet wide-gap crossing capability for the Dutch Engineer Corps consists of pontoons, bridge erection boats to move the pontoons and keep them in position in the water, WLS trucks to transport the pontoons and boats by land, and bridge adapter pallets to launch and recover them from the water.

The contract comprises IRB sections with a total length of 225 m and bridge erection boats from US company Birdon, according to the MoD spokesperson, who added they would replace older bridges and provide the Dutch Engineer Corps with a capability in accordance with today's military standards. The Netherlands procured Standard Ribbon Bridges (SRBs) in 1985. The spokesperson said, β€œAll NATO vehicles can cross the system and due to using the same connectors, pontoons are fully interoperable with other user nations like the USA, Germany, and Sweden. Therefore, bridge sections can easily be combined during operations while increasing speed of movement and military mobility.”

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