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Armored bridgelayer


The Israeli Tagash armored bridgelayer operates two bridge types for larger and narrower obstaces

Entered service ?
Crew 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (with bridge) ~ 50 t
Length ~ 11.3 m
Hull length ~ 7 m
Width ~ 4 m
Height ~ 3.9 m
Load class MLC-60
Bridge length (single span) 19 m
Bridge length (multi-span) 2 x 11 m
Bridge payload 60 t
Construction time 3 - 4 minutes
Engine Continental AVDS-1790-2D
Engine power 750 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range ~ 450 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench 2.6 m
Fording 1.2 m


   The first armored bridgelayers to enter service with the Israel Defense Force were the captured Jordanian M48 and US-supplied M60 AVLBs. The IDF continues to use the M60A1-based bridgelayers except with modifications. The IDF refers to the AVLB as Tagash which is an acronym for a tank bridge.

   The Tagash can operate two bridge types. The original aluminum bridge fitted to the M60 AVLB could only carry tanks up to 55 tons, so reinforcement was added on later models including IDF variants. The bridge weighs 14.4 tons and it takes only 3 to 4 minutes to launch a bridge. Due to the growing use of a number of trenches in fortifications and the greater number of natural narrower obstacles rather then larger ones, IMI's TAAS's Slavin Plant engineered a tandem assembly called the Tzmed or tandem. It is the latest Israeli modification. The two bridges can be fitted to any M60 AVLB system without any changes to the vehicle's systems. The Tzmed assembly also enables the AVLB to bridge gaps in which the elevation of the opposing bank and the bridge itself, when laid out, is steep. The Tzmed assembly weighs in at only 13.5 tons for both bridges. The empty weight of the Tagash is 43.6 tons The span of each bridge is 11 meters while the total length is 11.7 meters. The bridges are both identical and interchangeable, and they are both designed to interleave with each other in order to reduce the vehicle's travelling height. The main advantage to a up-and-out system compared to a horizontal system is the reduced mechanical complexity.

   New all-steel Merkava tracks have been fitted to Tagash, although some vehicles can be seen in combat with the original T142 tracks. The M60 AVLB has a power take off fitted to its Continental AVDS-1790-2D turbocharged diesel engine to enable it to run hydraulic systems for the bridge. This engine develops 750 hp.


Aaron Warnke

   Article by AARON WARNKE

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