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Biber

Armored bridgelayer

Biber

Despite its age the Biber bridgelayer tank is still operational with the German Army

 
 
Entered service 1975
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (with bridge) 45.3 t
Length 11.82 m
Hull length ~ 7 m
Width 4 m
Height 3.57 m
Bridge
Load class MLC-50
Bridge length 22 m
Bridge payload 50 t
Construction time 3 minutes
Mobility
Engine MTU MB 873 Ca-501 diesel
Engine power 830 hp
Maximum road speed 62 km/h
Range 550 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.7 m
Trench 2.5 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 1.65 m

 

   The Biber (beaver) combat engineering vehicle carries and deploys an assault bridge to aid friendly troops in the crossing of streams, anti-tank ditches and other small obstacles on the battlefield. This armored bridgelayer was designed to meet a requirement of the Bundeswehr. Development of the Biber commenced in 1965. First prototypes were built in 1969. First production bridgelayers were completed in 1975. A total of 105 bridgelayers were built for the German Army. Its German Army designation is Bruckenlegepanzer Biber ot BRP-1. The Biber is still operational, however in the future it might be replaced by the new PBS 2 armored bridgelayer. Export operators are Australia, Canada and the Netherlands. Also 64 vehicles were built for Italian Army by OTO Melara.

   The Biber armored bridgelayer is based on a modified Leopard 1 main battle tank chassis. It is equipped with a bridge laying system instead of the turret. The Biber lays its bridge horizontally (cantilever type) rather than vertically as with majority of other bridgelayers. The main advantage of such design, is that it can not be observed some distance away by the enemy. The bridge is of aluminum construction and consists of two 11 m sections. It has a length of 22 m and can span a gap of 20 m. It can take an MLC-50 class tracked or wheeled vehicles. It can also take MLC-60 class vehicles with care. The bridge is laid within three minutes and can be retrieved from either end. In transport mode these bridge sections are carried one above the other.

   The bridge can be laid under armor protection even under fire on the battlefield. The Biber AVLB is also fitted with an NBC protection system. This combat engineering vehicle has a crew of two, including driver and commander (bridge operator).

   Hull of the Biber bridgelayer is almost identical to that of the Leopard 1 MBT. This military vehicle is powered by MTU MB 873 Ca-501 multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 830 hp. Engine and transmission can be replaced in field conditions within 20 minutes. The torsion bar suspension consists of seven road wheels. A front-mounted hydraulic stabilizer blade can be also used as a dozer blade to prepare the bridging sight, although this operation is normally carried out by other engineering vehicles.

 

Video of the Biber armored bridgelayer

 

 
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