General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) announced today that it and its partner, Hanwha Defense Corporation (HDC), have been selected by Republic of Korea’s Defence Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to jointly produce 110 amphibious bridging vehicles for the Republic of Korea Army. Under the Korean Amphibious Bridging Vehicle (KABV) program, the GDELS M3 Amphibious Bridge & Ferry (Rig) System will be localized to meet specific Korean requirements and will be designated M3K. The M3K was chosen in a competitive selection process. The M3 is already operated by the militaries of Germany, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. With more than 1.3 km of bridge length, the Republic of Korea will operate the largest M3 fleet.
“We are very delighted that the Republic of Korea is the fourth Asian customer to select our M3 as their future amphibious bridge and ferry system. It reconfirms the unique bridging capabilities of the M3 and demonstrates the essential importance of tactical bridging for modern armies in terms of interoperability and military mobility,” said Dr. Thomas Kauffmann, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS)’s vice president of international business and services.
“From an industrial point of view, this project is a great success for our employees here in Kaiserslautern,” said Dr. Christian Kauth, vice president and managing director of GDELS-Bridge Systems. “We have established an excellent collaboration with our Korean partner Hanwha. The success is (further) proof of the general advantage of 4×4 solutions when it comes to amphibious bridging and demonstrates the leading role of GDELS in the military floating bridge market.”
The M3 is self-deployable by road, operating as a 4×4 wheeled vehicle with a maximum road speed of 80 km/h. Before it is driven into the water for amphibious operation, two large aluminium pontoons are deployed, unfolding them along the length of its hull. Multiple rigs may be joined by long connectors called “ramps”, 4 of which are carried on each vehicle, to form a bridge across a water obstacle. 8 M3 Rigs will bridge a 100m water gap this way, and can be traversed by vehicles up to and including the heaviest 60+ ton main battle tank. Alternatively, just 2 Rigs may be joined to create a ferry capable of carrying a similar load across much wider water gaps. 3 Rigs joined together may carry up to the equivalent of 2 such MBTs.