|Manufacturer:||General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Armoured vehicle-launched bridge|
M3 AMPHIBIOUS BRIDGING & FERRYING VEHICLE
The former EWK is closely associated with the development and production of amphibious bridging and ferrying vehicles can be utilised as ferries or floating bridges for heavy tracked combat vehicles and trucks. Starting in the 1950´s the first amphibious bridging system called GILLOIS-EWK was designed for the French Army. This first generation equipment was equiped with inflatable rubber pontoons but the improved design of the M2 vehicle in the 1960s they were soon replaced by two aluminium side pontoons that become part of the bridge structure when the vehicle is used as a bridge or ferry. This facilitated the erection of highly efficient floating bridges and ferries within a short time and with little manpower required. When travelling on land the side pontoons are swung up for ease of mobility. A water drive provides mobility in water and holds the vehicle in strong currents. In total 264 GILLOIS-EWK and 385 M2s were built for Armed Forces in Europe and overseas. Today the new generation of MLC70 heavy combat vehicles requires a more advanced and capable bridging vehicles and with the introduction of the M3 Amphibious Bridging & Ferrying Vehicle to the German and British armies in 1996, a standard-setting milestone in military bridging was marked.
The M3 is the world’s most modern, most efficient and fastest amphibious bridging and ferrying system, it reduces construction time dramatically and provides increased maneuverability and mobility in the water. The M3 is currently used by the armies of Germany, UK and Taiwan ROC.
M3 builds on the excellent cost / utility / efficiency relationship of its predecessors: it is quicker to construct a bridge, it provides great mobility and less personnel are needed; costs are reduced by greater automatization of the control system. M3 offers outstanding cross-country mobility through 4-wheel drive, 2-axle servo steering, a tyre-pressure adjusting system and an axle retraction and extension system. In water the vehicle is highly maneuverable due to its two 360º turnable water pump jets and its ship-like body.