M104 Wolverine AVLB
United States (2003)
Origin: United States
Type: Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge
Manufacturer(s): General Dynamics Land Systems - USA / MAN Mobile Bridges GmbH - Germany
The M104 Wolverine AVLB bridgelayer replaced the aged M60 AVLB series in service with the United States Army.
Detailing the development and operational history of the M104 Wolverine AVLB Armored Vehicle-Launched Bridge. Entry last updated on 8/1/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Development of the M104 was headed by General Dynamic Land Systems (GDLS) beginning in 1983 and this produced the turretless M1 Abrams hull which was fitted with specialized mounting hardware and an inherent power system to manage a "scissors-type" folding bridge component fitted over the hull. The bridge is from a design supplied by MAN Mobile Bridges GmbH of Germany. The work inevitably produced pilot (prototype) vehicles whose trials were undertaken from 1996 onwards. After successful completion of this phase, the vehicle was received by U.S. Army engineering groups as the "M104 Wolverine" during 2003. Procurement has netted some forty-four of the type in inventory - though this represents a drastic reduction from the 450+ vehicles originally sought by Army authorities (primarily due to budget reductions).
In the field, the M104 provides traversal of seemingly impassable terrain such as deep water sources or ravines. The bridge component is laid down by the carrier vehicle which is crewed by just two. These personnel reside in the protective armored hull, shielded from basic battlefield dangers and inclement weather. The M1 Arbams origins allow the Wolverine to keep pace with other Army mechanized units such as the Bradley IFV family of vehicles. The bridge component is launched and set within five minutes and is then reclaimed on the other side of a crossing by the same launching vehicle for reuse somewhere down the road. The Wolverine can then rejoin its advancing column. It does, however, lack any standard defensive armament which, more or less, requires that the M104 operate within close proximity of friendly forces in a combat environment.