By Michael Clow and Rae Higgins
While boats don’t normally (if ever) come to mind when one thinks of Army systems, the new XM30 Bridge Erection Boat, or BEB, is certain to turn more than a few heads in and outside the Engineer Regiment. To be sure, these force projection-enabling vessels did here last week.
Acquisition officials assigned to the Army’s Product Management Office for Bridging showcased the BEB, the most recent addition to the Engineer Regiment’s equipment portfolio, last week at the Aberdeen Test Center’s Amphibious Landing Area. The demonstration was designed to educate key individuals from across the program’s stakeholders on the BEB, its role in enhancing and enabling maneuver and sustainment, and its advantages over the legacy system.
… tactical bridging systems like the BEB are increasingly important to America’s Soldiers and Marines.
The new XM30 BEB will replace the 30-year-old legacy Mk II BEB platform and represents an important part of the Army’s incremental modernization efforts.
“Aberdeen Test Center has been the pre-eminent developmental test facility for each iteration of the Bridge Erection Boat since inception,” said Mike Reedy, Aberdeen Test Center’s BEB program test officer. “Thus far, this is one of the most suitable, effective, and safe pieces of equipment that I’ve tested, and our unique facilities here are an important part of ensuring that this system meets the capability gap identified by the Soldiers.”
Frank Fleming, the Army’s assistant product manager for the BEB, said, “We wanted to show our stakeholders what America’s taxpayers are buying and what our Soldiers will soon receive in terms of a new capability. We got them out on both the legacy and the new boats so they can feel the capability difference this boat delivers.”
The visitors, including senior leaders from the Army’s acquisition, test, and programming communities, as well as Congressional staffers, climbed aboard BEBs to get an up-close look at how they operate and their role in employing the Improved Ribbon Bridge, or IRB. The vessel will provide Multi-Role Bridging Companies (MRBCs) significantly enhanced capabilities not only for bridging operations, but also for diving support, rafting transport, and patrols.