The M104 "Wolverine" was adopted by the United States Army to succeed its aged line of M60 Main Battle Tank-based "Armored Vehicle launched Bridge" (AVLB) bridgelayer systems. The M104 followed the same design road as it was simply developed from the current-generation M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT). As such, the new vehicle shares many of the automotive and track components as its progenitor while its on-road/off-road performance deviates little from its original offering.
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.
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.
General Dynamics Land Systems - USA / MAN Mobile Bridges GmbH - Germany Manufacturer(s)
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.