Ethiopia’s military appears to have acquired a number of mobile bridges from China.
Photos posted on Twitter last month show at least three truck-mounted mobile bridges being transported along a road in Ethiopia.
They appear to be Norinco GQL-111 scissor-type bridges transported and launched over the rear of an 8×8 cross-country truck chassis.
According to Jane’s International Defence Review, the GQL-111 is conceptually similar to the Russian TMM-6 heavy bridge building system. A single section can be used to span a gap of up to 15 metres. A complete set of five can span a gap of 75 metres.
The GQL-111 can be used to span wet and dry gaps, with each scissors bridge having an adjustable leg that can be extended to 5.5 metres below. It can also be used with pontoons to enable wider rivers to be crossed, Jane’s reported.
The GQL-111 bridge can handle tracked armoured fighting vehicles) up to 50 tonnes and wheeled vehicles with a maximum axle weight of 13 tonnes. A later version is also referred to as the 60T Modified Heavy Mechanized Bridge; its capacity increased to 60 tones.
The 8×8 bridge-laying vehicle weights 30.8 tons and can erect a single span in 11 minutes.
The GQL-111 is in widespread service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. It has also been exported to the Peruvian armed forces and apparently Myanmar.
The acquisition appears to be one of few in recent years by Ethiopia. In 2019 the country received several Pantsyr-S1 air defence systems from Russia and six G-120TP trainers from Germany. Other recent acquisitions include a donated C-130E Hercules transport from the United States and 75 Thunder armoured personnel carriers from Israel.