Rapidly Deployable Assault Gap Crossing Systems

Navy SBIR 23.2 - Topic N232-079
MCSC - Marine Corps Systems Command
Pre-release 4/19/23   Opens to accept proposals 5/17/23   Closes 6/14/23 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N232-079 TITLE: Rapidly Deployable Assault Gap Crossing Systems


OBJECTIVE: Develop gap crossing solutions that are modular, scalable, ground and air transportable, compatible with aerial delivery techniques, deployable in a short timeframe without additional construction support equipment, and capable of supporting and being transported by light- and medium-weight combat and tactical vehicles, and unmanned ground vehicles.

DESCRIPTION: The intent of this SBIR topic is to develop hasty gap crossing solutions that are transportable and deployed by tactical vehicles.

The technology must meet Threshold requirements = (T)

It is highly desirable that the technology meets Objective requirements = (O)

1. Transported by Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) and Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) (T); unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) (O).

2. Deployed by JLTV and MTVR (T); UGV (O).

3. Span a 12 meter gap (T); 15 meter gap (O)

4. Military Load Class 40 ton (T); 60 ton (O)

5. Bridge width 12 feet/3.66 meters (T=O)

6. Wheel way widths 4 feet/1.2 meters (T=O)

7. Ability to deploy the bridge, vehicles cross the gap, and then retrieve from the far bank to continue the assault (T=O)

8. Time to deploy 15 minutes (T); 5 minutes (O)

9. Time to recover 15 minutes (T); 5 minutes (O)

10. Capable of being placed in an unprepared gap (T=O)

11. Capable of being assembled with common hand tools (T); No tools (O)

12. Capable of being assembled without heavy equipment (T=O)

13. Unit cost $350,000 (T); $125,000 (O)

PHASE I: Develop concepts for rapidly deployable assault gap crossing systems that meet the requirements described above. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps requirements. Establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. Provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones, and that will address technical risk reduction.

PHASE II: Develop 1-2 prototype rapidly deployable assault gap crossing systems for evaluation to determine their capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Description above. Demonstrate technology performance through prototype evaluation and modeling over the required range of parameters. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements; and for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment approved by the Government. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. Support the Marine Corps for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Marine Corps use.

Commercial applications may include, but not be limited to: disaster relief, homeland security, emergency services, and commercial construction.


  1. "VIPER.". General Dynamics European Land Systems. https://www.gdels.com/mtb.php
  2. Higgins, Rae. "Joint Assault Bridge aces Operational Test; fielding plans include all COMPOs." U.S. Army PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support, December 11, 2020. https://www.army.mil/article/241689/joint_assault_bridge_aces_operational_test_fielding_plans_include_all_compos
  3. "ATP 3-21.21 SBCT Infantry Battalion. Headquarters, Department of the Army, March 2016. https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/atp3_21x21.pdf

KEYWORDS: Bridge; bridging; gap; crossing; maneuver; mobility; transportable


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/#announcements for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 19, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on May 17, 2023, and closes June 14, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

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Topic Q & A

5/25/23  Q. I'm seeking clarification regarding the scalability requirement for the assault gap crossing system. Does "scalable" mean being able to adjust the bridge length on-site during an assault within the threshold/objective time frame and without the use of heavy equipment, or does it refer to the ability to adjust the bridge length off-site in a controlled environment and approach a gap with the pre-scaled bridge?
  1. The primary intent of scalability refers to the system to either have multiple versions of the platform that can accommodate various width gaps; e.g, 6m, 9m, 12m, or 15m. This affords options to address various gap widths, transportation, deployment, and recovery. As example�I may not need a 15m system if I can meet requirements with a smaller system. The reduced size would also, hopefully, reduce my transportation requirements, and simplify deployment and recovery.
  2. An alternative to #1 may be that, as the proposer describes, a system that could be expanded to cover a range of gap widths. This may increase compellability, weight, cube, deployment and recovery times.
Both 1 and 2 would be considered. Trade space would need to be identified for either concept. Analyzing this trade space could be a key activity in Phase I.
5/18/23  Q. Are there any additional tactical requirements to be aware of? For example noise requirements, power requirements, fire requirements, armor requirements?
   A. 1. These requirements have not been addressed. However, if you believe there is merit in addressing these topics we would definitely consider them.
2. Regarding power, any electrical power required should consider the available power of the JLTV and MTVR. Additional power could, potentially, be provided by separate energy storage devices such as 6T batteries or fuel cells.
5/18/23  Q. Is there a preference on stowage method or location during transport? For example should the solution be integrated or installed on the vehicle or is a trailer/towable acceptable? The ideal case is one vehicle is capable of transporting the entire gap crossing system, but is there a maximum preffered number of vehicles used to transport/deploy a single gap crossing bridge?
   A. 1. There is no preference. No maximum. The system could be transported by a vehicle or trailer. The vehicles identified (JLTV and MTVR) are the prime movers of the MLR. Stowage and transportability should be constrained by those platforms. An additional note is that the system can also be transported by MV-22 or CH-53K, internally or externally (sling load).
2. Also note that there will be very limited, if any, access to material handling equipment.
3. Speed of deployment and recovery are critical goals.
5/18/23  Q. In comparison to the existing gap crossing systems (Viper, Anaconda, Cobra, JAB), this topic seeks to provide a new "class" of crossing system by enabling the MLC 40 capacity at increased lengths, quick deployment/retrieval times, using JLTV / MTVR / UGVs and moving away from specialized vehicles? Is another goal to enable cross-vehicle fitment or "versions" of the system, or is it preferable for one?
   A. 1. This topic is addressing the lack of crossing systems for the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps has divested of tanks/armor, which were the prime vehicles for bridging operations. Force Design has created smaller, more agile units that will utilize vehicles such as the JLTV and MTVR as prime movers. UGVs are seen as potential platforms for enabling this capability. However, at this time, there are no UGV requirements defined for the Marine Corps. A Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR) will be a smaller unit with limited resources (personnel and equipment). The systems we desire to develop will require fewer personnel to deploy/recover and will be integrated with the vehicles noted. Simply stated, we are moving away from specialized vehicles.
2. Regarding �versions,� it is understood that the resultant technology may lead to a �family of systems� that can address the need. Scalability will be a valuable capability. The ability to integrate a single bridging system with multiple vehicles has benefits. Reducing the logistics tail of any system is beneficial. This is especially true in the Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) environment. Contested Logistics will challenge traditional supply chains. Flexibility will be important. Design innovation is what we want to see from proposing vendors.
5/8/23  Q. Two general questions:
What, if any, shew and vertical alignment variabilities need to be accommodate?

Is there a deflection limit imposed with the design load?
   A. I�m not sure that there is an issue with this because our speeds over the bridge will be very slow. So vertical alignment may not be an issue. I�m not sure about �shew.�

I�m not aware of a deflection limit. The key thing with the design will be to accommodate the weight of the vehicles identified. The system should be able to support repeated vehicle crossings during each deployment. The system needs to be deployable multiple times and have a reasonable life span. It would be helpful to have a �sensor� or indicator that the system requires repair, maintenance, or replacement.

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