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M104 Wolverine

Armored bridgelayer

M104 Wolverine

The M104 Wolverine armored bridgelayer is in service with the US Army

 
 
Entered service 2003
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (with bridge) 69.8 t
Length 13.4 m
Hull length ~ 8 m
Width 3.48 m
Height 3.96 m
Bridge
Load class MLC-70
Bridge length 26 m
Bridge payload 70 t
Construction time 4 minutes
Mobility
Engine Avco Lycoming AGT1500 gas turbine
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 72 km/h
Range 416 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 1.2 m
Trench ~ 2.7 m
Fording 1.2 m

 

   The M104 Wolverine armored bridgelayer is designed to carry, emplace and retrieve an assault bridge in combat conditions. A program development began in the early 1980s and by 1994 a contract was awarded to General Dynamics and the German MAN Mobile Bridges (now Krauss-Maffei Wegmann). First production Wolverines were delivered to the US Army in 2003.

   The M104 Wolverine is based on a modified M1A2 SEP main battle tank chassis. It is fitted with a bridgelaying gear in place of the turret. The Wolverine carries, launches and retrieves an MLC-70 class bridge across gaps up to 24 m. The bridge is laid horizontally  (cantilever type) rather than vertically as with a number of other bridgelayers. The main advantage of such design, is that it can not be observed some distance away by the enemy.

   The Leguan aluminum bridge is made of four interchangeable sections. It is 4 m wide and weights 10.9 t. The bridge is capable of supporting loads such as M1A2 Abrams main battle tank. The bridge structure is durable enough, to withstand 5 000 crossings of 70-tonne vehicles.

   The M104 Wolverine replaces the previous M60A1-based AVLB in heavy divisional engineer battalions, armed cavalry regiments and heavy separate brigades. The US Army originally had a requirement for 465 Wolverines. Initially it was seen as a one-for-one replacement for the M60 AVLB, however due to budget cuts only 44 were delivered to a few select engineer units. Currently there are no plans to purchase more M104 bridgelayers.

   It is claimed that armor protection of the Wolverine bridgelayer is comparable to the Abrams main battle tank.

   This armored bridgelayer is operated by a crew of two. The Wolverine lays a heavy assault bridge within 4 minutes. It takes up to 10 minutes to recover the bridge. Laying and recovery of the bridge is done under armor, without leaving the vehicle. Both crewmen have access to bridging controls. In an emergency the launch sequence can be accomplished by a single crew member.

   The M104 is fitted with a digital battlefield management system, which is designed to increase awareness on the battlefield and keeps the vehicle in contact with local field commanders.

   The M104 Wolverine is powered by Avco Lycoming (now Honeywell) AGT1500 gas turbine engine, developing 1 500 hp. The same engine is used on the M1 Abrams tank. It is a multi-fuel engine, which can run on kerosene, diesel, petrol or aviation fuel. It has servicing intervals significantly longer than of diesel engines, however is troublesome to maintain and has very high fuel consumption comparing with diesel units. The Wolverine features the same mobility and transportability as the M1 Abrams. This armored bridgelayer can be airlifted by the C-5A Galaxy strategic military cargo aircraft.

 

Video of the M104 Wolverine armored bridgelayer

 

 
M104 Wolverine

M104 Wolverine

M104 Wolverine

M104 Wolverine

M104 Wolverine

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