M60 AVLB Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge
The M60 AVLB was developed as a portable bridge-laying unit from the classic M60 Patton Main Battle Tank.
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The M60 AVLB (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) was developed from the existing M60 Patton Main Battle Tank (MBT) as a dedicated bridge-launching vehicle. The design retained the form and function of the M60 combat tank sans its powered turret system. In its place, a scissors-type bridge was set atop a special mounting. The bridge measured 60-feet long and 13-feet wide, laid down as a pair of hinged sections resting atop one another. The bridge was designed as removable from the tank unit so as to have the vehicle clear the path for other elements. In this way, the carrier could then cross its own bridge after the convoy had passed and retrieved the unit for reuse elsewhere. The bridge-laying operation could be completed in just five minutes by the crew of two (driver and commander).
The original M60 AVLB debuted in 1967 while its upgraded form appeared in 1987 after the arrival of the M60A1 model. Power was served through a Continental AVDS-1790-2C diesel-fueled engine of 750 horsepower allowing the vehicle a range out to 290 miles and a road speed of 30 miles per hour. The hull was suspended atop a torsion bar suspension system allowing for the necessary cross-country capability required of the modern American Army and Marine forces.
The M60 AVLB proved its usefulness in both Gulf Wars (1991, 2003) and continues to serve in limited numbers today (2014). Beyond its service in the United States Army, the M60 AVLB has found use in the ground forces of Israel, Pakistan, Singapore, and Spain.
For the American Army, the M60 AVLB has been replaced by the M104 "Wolverine" based on the chassis and running gear of the M1 Abrams MBT (M1A2 SEP).