A lightweight 35m mountain footbridge (MFB) has been developed at R&DE(E), Pune to bridge clear gaps up to 32m with a pathway of 0.8 m. The bridge is made of highstrength aluminum alloy components such that each component is man-portable and weighs less than 18 kg. It is also capable of withstanding conditions prevailing in glacial regions. The system is made compact considering limited availability of back space during launching in mountain regions. The joints of the bridge facilitate easy assembly in cold conditions. Full bridge can be launched in about 120 minutes with a crew of 30. The time of launch will reduce for shorter spans. The bridge will normally not allow any appreciable accumulation of fresh snow due to provision of gaps in the deck, however bridge is still designed for accumulation of 250mm of fresh snow with a density of 200 kg/m3 . Bridge can be negotiated by people with a spacing of about 3m. After number of in-house technical trials and UATT, one prototype of this bridging system has recently completed extensive user trials with Indian Army.
Launching of the bridge
It includes a man-portable launching system that facilitates the bridge to be launched from near-bank without any access to the far-bank. To launch the bridge, a light weight nose is first launched from near-bank in cantilever mode. After the nose is lowered across the gap, bridge panels are attached to the nose and pushed across the gap.