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02 Mar 2023

A Bridge to Fall: modernising the Army's bridge demolition capability

A Bridge to Fall: modernising the Army's bridge demolition capability
Crown Copyright 2023
Ministry of Defence Press Release
  • The Defence and Security Accelerator has launched a new Innovation Focus Area: A Bridge to Fall
  • This Innovation Focus Area is looking for ways to modernise how the Army approaches bridge demolition
  • Up to £400k is available in funding for this Innovation Focus Area

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is launching a new Innovation Focus Area (IFA) called A Bridge to Fall. This IFA, run on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is searching for innovative ways of modernising the British Army’s bridge demolition capability, which could reduce the time to prepare the demolition or minimise the exposure of military personnel to potential hazards.

The importance of bridges

Bridges are key to the large scale manoeuvre and supply of troops and, in particular, armour. A defending force has a strong incentive to deny an adversary the use of bridges, meanwhile an attacker has an equally strong motivation to preserve key bridges and disrupt attempts at sabotage.

Preventing an adversary from using a bridge is an important but dangerous mission. The most efficient method of doing this is through bridge demolition via the select placement of charges on the bridge structure. However, preparing a structure for demolition this way is resource intensive, both in terms of the number of personnel used and the time required.

What is required?

This IFA, A Bridge to Fall, seeks ideas which can speed up the preparation of the demolition, minimise human participation in the bridge demolition process and reduce the demands on any remaining personnel.

There are three challenge areas in this IFA. Proposals should address one or more of the following challenge areas:

1) How to identify and diagnose structural weaknesses of bridges

2) How to optimise the placement and effect of explosive charges on the bridge

3) Designing an unmanned device to place the charge(s) in the appropriate point(s)

For this IFA, the assumption should be made that the target bridge is of ferrocement construction (i.e. steel reinforced concrete).

Learn more about the challenge areas in the full IFA document.

Key dates and funding

This IFA will be valid for at least Cycles 1 and 2 of the Open Call for Innovation in FY23/24 and up to £400k of funding is available.

Find out more and submit a proposal to the A Bridge to Fall IFA.

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