German defense company, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has signed a contract with Finland’s Patria Land Systems Oy to modernize and expand the Finnish Army’s Leguan bridge layer fleet .
The project is supervised by the procurement authority of the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) and Patria was selected as the primary contractor.
The modernization project makes Finland the sixth user to introduce the ability to lay short Leguan bridges, modernising all systems with respect to performance and future viability. In addition to upgrading the existing vehicles, four new Leguan systems on a Leopard 2 chassis have also been ordered, as part of the project.
The contract will be carried out in 2019 and 2020.
Leguan bridge layer system
Leguan bridge layer system was developed from the older Biber system which has been in service with the German Army since the 1970s. The Biber system is mounted on the Leopard 1 chassis while Leguan system is primarily mounted on the newer Leopard 2 chassis.
The Leguan bridge layer can configure one bridge of 26 meters length or two of 14 meters length. The system can overcome obstacles with a width of up to 24 (26 m long bridge) or 12 meters (14 m long bridge). The laying system has been designed in such a way that, when changing from a 26 to 14 meter bridge, no retrofitting is necessary.and the laying process doesn’t require any further adaptations to the vehicle.
The automatic laying and loading system can lay a bridge horizontally in approximately 5 minutes (14 meter bridge) and 6 minutes (26 meter bridge) by a single person inside the vehicle. The low silhouette of the vehicle remains preserved during this procedure. The loading of the bridge takes 8 minutes with the 26 meter bridge and only 7 with the 14 meter bridge.
The system is capable of laying bridges at day and night, thanks to a distance measuring instrument, a thermal imaging device as well as a CCD camera.
KMW created the Leguan tank-launched bridge system for the Norwegian, Greek, Belgian, Chilean and Turkish Armed Forces on the basis of the LEOPARD 1 chassis. The Leguan system can however also be adapted onto other new or used tank chassis frames.
For example, the system is in operation, mounted onto following tracked vehicle chassis frames:
+ Leopard 2 for the Finnish Armed Forces,
+ M60/M47 for the Spanish Armed Forces,
+ Polish T91/T72 for the Malaysian Armed Forces,
+ M1A1/A2 ‚Wolverine‘ Heavy Assault Bridge (HAB) for the U.S. Armed Forces
The laying system can also be carried by wheeled vehicles, such as the 8×8 vehicle by MAN or the 10×10 vehicle by the Finnish company SISU.
According to KMW, the Leguan bridge layer system is used by 17 countries.