Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB) is a modern floating bridge system developed by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS). It is designed to provide ground forces with the capability to transport heavy military equipment such as loaded heavy equipment transporter (HET), weapons systems, wheeled / tracked combat vehicles, trucks, suppliers and troops over rivers and wet gap obstacles. IRB is fully interoperable with General Dynamics European Land Systems’ legacy floating bridge systems, FSB, and the amphibious ferry system M3. It maintains full interoperability with the legacy SRB – Standard Ribbon Bridge and the FSB- Floating Support Bridge, which makes it the standard floating bridge in the Western hemisphere.
IRB has seen extensive combat operations with the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps since 2003. As part of the NATO Exercise Anakonda 2016, an Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB) was set up by the United States and German Armies and a Standard Ribbon Bridge by Dutch engineers. The IRB is already in service worldwide and has supported theatre and peacekeeping operations, as well as humanitarian and environmental missions. The IRB is fully interoperable with General Dynamics European Land Systems’ legacy floating bridge systems, including the Floating Support Bridge, the Standard Ribbon Bridge (SRB) and the M3 Amphibious Bridge and Ferry System.
The IRB provides state of the art loading capabilities up to MLC 80 (T) / 96 (W) that can be crossed by all NATO MBTs such as the Leopard 2, M1A2 Abrams and the Challenger 2. It can operate in significant water currents, enabling all types of platform to cross a gap when used as part of a bridge or as a multi-bay ferry. It is interoperable with other bridging solutions – the M3 and SRB (Standard Ribbon Bridge)/FSB(Floating Support Bridge). We also offer coupling devices to ensure the right interface at any time. That makes the IRB the right fit for coalitions which use different types of equipment but operate jointly. If necessary, the IRB can be supported by a BEB (Bridge Erection Boat) which provides the user with a high performance multipurpose boat.
Improved Ribbon Bridge (IRB) have been successfully used in allied maneuvers such in real combat zones (Iraq) allowing military operations to keep flowing regardless of the combat theater. IRB offers superior performance and reliability under differing climate conditions in exercises and combat operations. Tactical deployability is guaranteed as it can be transported by rotary aircraft, on trucks or on railway flatbed cars. Low maintenance needs and ease for long-term storage help contribute to the IRB’s reasonable life cycle costs. Transport needs are also reduced thanks to its modular design. Combat experience is the key to linking a customer’s engineering needs with real combat environment, to be able to offer them robust, customized and realistic solutions which result in lower maintenance/upgrading costs during the bridge’s life cycle.