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Combat Engineering Equipment Lot 3 - Dry Support Bridge Acquisition Project of the Philippine Army

The Philippine Army has started acquiring new assets that would allow it to have combat bridging capabilities as part of new capabilities being introduced to improve its overall performance as a combat unit.

With the experience in the Battle of Marawi in 2017 against ISIS-inspired terrorists that made use of the Philippine Army's lack of emergency and combat bridging equipment. The terrorists fought tooth and nail for bridges that stopped the military from moving forward quickly across combat areas with rivers that require bridges to cross.

There were many instances during the Battle of Marawi wherein Philippine Army units were pinned down in crossing a river as terrorist snipers and machine gunners were position near an existing major concrete bridge, when the Philippine Army could have crossed the river somewhere else and create another front.

This experience, together with having combat bridge capabilities to support tanks and other heavy combat vehicles in crossing without relying on civilian bridges, as well as to provide emergency bridging during disaster operations, pushed the Philippine Army to prioritize the acquisition of three bridging capabilities.

In this resource page, we discuss one of these capabilities being introduced to the Philippine Army - the Dry Support Bridge, which is also known as the Tactical Support Bridge, wherein a couple of systems are being acquired under the Horizon 2 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

A WFEL Dry Support Bridge launcher using an Iveco-made platform, with a simplified demonstration unit for the system. Photo credits to original source.


Project Summary:

Combat Engineering Equipment Lot 3 - Dry Support Bridge Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 22 August 2023.
 
* End User: Philippine Army (Combat Engineering units)

Quantity: 2 units


* Modernization Phase:
 Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP


* Project ABC:
 Php1,250,000,000.00


Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government (G2G) deal between Philippine DND and UK Ministry of Defence.

* Source of Funding: Multi-Year Contractual Authority for 3 years, using General Appropriations Act (GAA) from FY2020 to FY2022.

* SARO Release/s: 
   
- SARO worth Php187,364,229.00 (15% initial payment)
   - SARO-BMB-D-22-0010961 worth Php437,183,200.00 dated 23 November 2022 (2nd MYCA, worth 35% of contract price)
   - SARO-BMB-D-23-0021665 worth Php624,547,428.31 dated 07 August 2023 (3rd MYCA, worth 50% of contract price)

* Winning Proponent: WFEL Ltd.


* Product for Delivery: WFEL Dry Support Bridge


* Contract Price: Php1,249,094,857.00

* Residual Amount: Php905,143.00

* First post by MaxDefense: 2019


* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PACEEDSBAcquisition


* Status: Project was implemented through G2G with UK government. WFEL Ltd. received NOA on January 2021, contract and NTP release expected by 2nd quarter 2021.

Setting up of a Dry Support Bridge by WFEL. Photo credits to Army Recognition.

Overview:

The Philippine Army has proposed the acquisition of Dry Support Bridge systems which can be used to support heavy combat vehicles that would be dangerous to cross on civilian bridges that do not have enough load capacity to support tanks.

The bridge could also be used to cross men and equipment over unprepared river crossings or in the absence of a bridge.

Also, the bridge could be used for emergency roles like the aftermath of disasters wherein bridges are damaged or destroyed by camities.

The Dry Support Bridge (DSB)
 is a tactical military bridging system that allows for use on longer spans, usually at least 45 meters long, at a very short period of time.

The system was among those included in the Philippine Army's Combat Engineering Equipment Project, which is a multi-lot project that involves acquiring different sets of combat engineering equipment.

During the pre-procurement process, the acquisition of Dry Support Bridge was among those recommended to be acquired from the United Kingdom through Government-to-Government (G2G) procurement process, together with 3 other combat engineering equipment systems.

Through the negotiations with the UK's Ministry of Defence, it was recommended that the Dry Support Bridge would be supplied by the British company WFEL, which specializes in dry support bridging systems.

Procurement:

According to MaxDefense Philippines sources from the Philippine Army, the Department of National Defense (DND) has awarded the project last January 2021 to UK-based WFEL Ltd. under a Philippines - United Kingdom Government-to-Government (G2G) deal supported by the UK's Ministry of Defence.

Two sets of Dry Support Bridges, complete with the transport trucks, handling systems and all other accessories plus the Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) are part of the deal, which is estimated to be worth Php1.25 billion.

The WFEL Dry Support Bridge is an interesting system, which includes a launching system usually using a 10x10 military truck that builds a gantry that would allow the support and slinging of the bridge to the other end of the river or obstacle. It spans at around 49 meters, has a Military Load Classification of MLC 120 (around 120 tons), and can be completely deployed in less than 90 minutes.


The launching vehicle is being prepared to build the gantry, which is being assembled before expanding. Photo taken from Australian Defence Magazine.

The gantry has been assembled and extended over the obstacle. Once the gantry is extended, it would be deployed to support and sling the bridge. Photo taken from Australian Army's Twitter account.


The bridge components are slinged while supported by the extended gantry. Photo credits to original source.

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U P D A T E S:
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22 August 2023:

The third and final MYCA payment for the project was secured with the DBM's release of a new last 07 August 2023, with SARO-BMB-D-23-0021665 worth Php624,547,428.31, or 50% of the contract amount.

This means that the delivery of the WFEL dry support bridges could be happening soon, as the contract stipulates final payment only upon completion of delivery.

 

3rd and final SARO release for the project was made on 07 August 2023. Photo screengrabbed from DBM's SARO listing.


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25 August 2023:

With the acquisition of the Dry Support Bridge from WFEL, the Philippine Army wil be getting its first 10x10 heavy tactical vehicle in the form of Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) HX45M 10x10 trucks, which the Philippine Army specified.

The PA has been planning to procure heavy tactical trucks like the RMMT HX series or American HEMTT that could carry containers and other specialized cargo, but has not been successful to get funding as part of Horizon 2.

The RMMV HX45M 10x10 truck used by the WFEL DSB of the Australian Army. 


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First edit and release: 30 May 2021
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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