Port Security Conference

April 16 2003

Refurbished Bridge Erection Boats

Wanted: A few good BEB's
Early this year, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) placed an urgent order with Britain's FBM Babcock Marine for five additional "as new" FBM Bridge Erection Boats (BEB's).

The FBM BEB's are a class of truck-launched boat that are used by bridging units of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps to build and position tactical river bridging modules prior to vehicle and personnel crossing. The U.S. Military has taken delivery of over 700 FBM BEBs since they were first introduced in the early 1980s.

Within the USMC's tight timeframe, construction of new boats was out of the question. So FBM Babcock Marine scoured Europe for boats that had been previously released from U.K. military service. Five BEBs suitable for refitting within the required timeframe were procured and FBM Babcock's support team set about the demanding refurbishment task to bring the boats to modern military standards.

Just seven weeks later the U.S, Marine Corps project team arrived at FBM Babcock Marine's Southampton, England head office to test the boats. The lead member of the USMC team stated "We didn't believe that any company would achieve this task on time and within budget, but the resulting boats are an exceptional job."

FBM Babcock Marine was then requested to arrange delivery direct to the Middle East, and with the boats being flown from London Manston Airport using a dedicated charter of an Antonov 124-100, which is the largest and heaviest cargo-carrying production airplane in the world. FBM Babcock Marine also arranged a second charter flight to ship additional USMC equipment that had been procured in the U.K., including other material from FBM Babcock Marine.

FBM Babcock Marine's managing director John Warbey, commented "this shows FBM Babcock Marine's commitment to the through life support of the BEBs supplied to the US Military, and our ability to provide a first class service within the times demanded. This also complements our other current projects running with the US Government."

"We would also like to express our gratitude to our partners, including South Boats and Premier Shipping, for their valuable assistance in the successful and timely completion of this project."

PRINCIPAL DETAILS - U.S. Military Bridge Erection Boats (MKII):
Length overall 8.4 m (27 ft)
Beam 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Draught 0.56 m (1 ft 8 in)
Hull Construction Aluminum alloy
Propulsion 2 Sabre diesel engine to Ultra waterjet
Speed up to 26 knots
Static Bollard Pull 2 tonnes (4.410 lb)