The U.S. army’s modified M60 Armored Vehicle was mounted with a scissor- type bridge that can be set up in under 98 seconds.
M60 Armored Vehicle Land Bridge (AVLB) is a modified M60 Patton battle tank equipped with a 19 meter (60-foot) retractable bridge. The ABLb was introduced in 1987 as a combat engineering vehicle to quickly deploy a bridge on the field in under 2 minutes.
The tank can lay a 19-meter (60-foot) bridge over water, trenches, and obstacles allowing passage for other vehicles. The scissor bridge weighs in at a massive 13 000 kg, constructed almost entirely out of aluminium. The bridge has a span of 19 meters but only requires half a meter on each side to support tracked and wheeled vehicles of up to a load of 60 tonnes to cross.
The uniquely engineered tank unfolds the bridge vertically and lowers it into place on the other side of a channel. When the bridge is laid in place, the tank disconnects, drives over, and can pick it back up on the other side.
AVLB setting up a crossing, partly camouflaged by the sand [Image Source: Wikipedia]
The predecessor M48 AVLB was armored with two 12.7-mm machine guns, whereas the M60 has no armament. The M60 is powered by a 750 hp Continental AVDS-1790-2A turbocharged diesel engine capable of reaching speeds up to 48km/h for a range of 460km despite the 51.3-tonne setback. The tank has been engineered so cleverly that even if the engine breaks, it can be replaced in under four hours, an impressive time for any vehicle.
Although the M60 AVLB is currently in active service, it is slowly being replaced by the M104 Wolverine, a similar style tank which has a bridge that can reach five meters further. However, only 44 units were delivered to a few specific engineering units with no current plans to purchase one, requiring the M60 AVLB to remain in active service for some time to come.
Although there are many insinuations about military technology, the M60 AVLB provides a practical service during extreme crises such as after flooding and earthquakes that often take out bridges entirely. The portable bridge provides a quick solution by providing a bridge in extremely remote areas or in areas that have suffered extensive damage. There are many menacing military vehicles, but the M60 AVLB provides a practical solution to critical problems and can save many lives during quick evacuations do to extreme events.