Army to get behind new portable bridge system

The inventor of a new portable bridging system is working on his first military order.

Exeter based EasiBridge is producing three bridges, three conveyors and a footbridge for the Royal Engineers Trials & Development Unit (RETDU) to try out. EasiBridge was formed in 2017 in Exeter by Stephen Bright, a structural engineer previously with Cass Hayward. He says his system is “the world’s first truly man-portable, long span rescue / assault modular-bridge system”. An 18 metre assault-bridge can be installed and crossed by just one man in under 20 seconds, he says.

His bridges can be transported and installed by a solo operative even with access from only one side. The Defence & Security Accelerator (DASA) invested £77,086.80 in July 2018, tasking EasiBridge to adapt its product for defence and wider government use. With help from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, EasiBridge products have already been put through a series of military trials. And the product range has developed, from footbridges to materials-handling ladder conveyors, fence-breaching frameworks to blast-resistant roofing systems – all from one kit of parts, using common, 5ft ladder sections.

Lucy Mason, head of DASA said: ” This is a cross defence innovation success story By embedding exploitation at the beginning of the innovation process and having the end user in mind throughout, it can lead to faster adoption of innovative ideas into defence and wider government. DASA is committed to supporting small businesses with great ideas and providing a platform upon which they can shine, EasiBridge did just this, attracting both UK and international interest”.

Stephen Bright said: “I am delighted that the Royal Engineers will be the first military unit to benefit from it. DASA support has been instrumental in developing a whole new range of gap crossing, force protection and specialist access capabilities. I cannot tell you the renewed impetus this product has given us. After three years scratching around the wilderness, the last several months have already started to change everything. Exactly what DASA was intended to do, I’m sure”.