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NAMJet’s high-clearance impellers and low-RPM operating range provide exceptional thrust while maintaining top end speed. NAMJet’s tractor jets seal the deal on a significant military boat building contract. Birdon’s history with the so-called BEB design stemmed from its parent company, Birdon Australia. When the Army goes into theatre in a conflict, bridges might be out that need to be crossed. The very nature of the work required of the new generation BEB involves toiling in riverine, sometimes highly turbid and muddy, debris choked waters.
All competitors were tested with Cummins engines adapted to run on JP8 fuel to drive the jets, identical water conditions and other similar variables.
In June, we asked if the NAMJet equipped BEB performed this well under adverse conditions in a hostile environment, could it not also perform similar service in niche, commercial workboat applications, as well? In the meantime, and as NAMJet relocates its manufacturing facilities to Denver, CO, they will also co-locate with Birdon America in the same 50,000 square foot facility. Bridge Erection Boats provide support for construction of temporary bridges in combat areas.
When the marine industry specifies a product, durability is high on its list of requirements. The Army’s one-of-a-kind bridge erection boats fill an obscure, shallow draft workboat niche, while showcasing capabilities that someday could be commercially viable. Army turned to industry in its quest to design the next generation, prototype bridge erection boat, the ensuing competition attracted no less than three industry competition teams, all of whom eventually submitted prototypes in 2010. Previously, Birdon had already built 24 bridge erection boats for the Australian Army and they had their own proprietary design that ended up being very successful for that application. All models were put through extensive testing periods at Aberdeen; as much as 600 hours of testing which included a rail car test because the boats are transportable and meant to go into theatre.
As you can imagine, the contract comes in phases, but they immediately awarded 11 and within another a week, they added another 14 (LUT) Limited User Training Boats. That means that the propulsion systems for these shallow draft craft must not only be durable, they’ve got to be able sustain prolonged service in unfriendly waters. Nevertheless, the award was protested by one unsuccessful bidding builder, but the Government Accounting Office (GAO) rejected the protest on the grounds that the Birdon boat was technically superior.
Ducker wasn’t ready to commit to such a concept, saying only that his firm would concentrate first on fulfilling the Army contract before considering other applications.


There, they will jointly build the first 25 BEB’s in a total contract deal worth $19 million.
And for the boat owner, durability is an essential prerequisite for the smooth running of the vessel, the untroubled enjoyment of passengers and the sheer joy of sailing.
Enjoy this exclusive slideshows treat!NEW DELHI: Over 4,000 jobs are likely to be created locally over the next five years with French company DCNS looking to source key components for its global ocean thermal projects under the Make-in-India initiative, a top official has told ET. Birdon America, Inc., teaming with a (now) wholly owned NAMJet propulsion group, was one of the players. But, at that time, the Australian version was powered by another brand of propulsion systems, one which was teaming with another competitor for the U.S. One of the tests involved tying the boat to a rail car and then slamming two cars into each other to prove that the tie downs would resist that sort of collision. Ducker says that’s a radically different design than the legacy boat that is a much more traditional, deep-V type hull. And, while the Birdon boat design certainly came into play, ultimately, NAMJet sealed the deal. Birdon was rated outstanding in technical aspects and only in terms of top speed was the NAMJet beaten. But, while water jets aren’t necessarily considered common in inland commercial towing and pushboat work, the NAMJet driven Birdon BEB certainly showed its capabilities under difficult testing circumstances during the Army contract bid phase. NAMJet will also continue to provide propulsion for all of its other business within the same building. Ducker explains, “You can imagine that after 600 hours, there was a lot of wear on all systems, and the NAMJet product really excelled under those conditions. In theatre, however, these boats don’t need to go terrifically fast, but they do need to provide thrust and reliability under load. Beyond this, and with the newly heightened emphasis on domestic inland infrastructure maintenance, durable shallow draft workboats will certainly be part of that new equation. To that end, Jim Ducker insists, “Birdon America was established solely for the bridge erection boat. Times like this make your boat a possession to cherish, and a valuable asset that you’ll want to protect against the elements for many years to come.
Hence, Birdon went in search for a new propulsion system that they could use to put into the BEB for the bid phase. Or, the floating section can be used as a ferry type configuration, moving single tanks across the body or water.


Following that, and in late 2012, the RFP came out to replace the entire bridge fleet for the U.S. In addition to that, when you are trying to propel what is essentially a brick on the water, you need something that is high thrust, heavy duty and durable. The recent passage of the long awaited WRRDA bill may well be the catalyst for more such work in the future.
Water leaks, in particular, can damage your prized possession, leaving unsightly marks along the hull and causing woodwork to rot and metal components to corrode.
Eventually, in March of this year, Birdon won the US Army Bridge Erection Boat (BEB) platform contract. They landed on NAMJet propulsion systems and its TRAKTOR Jet line of high-thrust marine jets.
In a nutshell, Bridge Erection Boats are primarily used to provide propulsion and maneuverable thrust to support temporary floating bridges often made necessary when existing bridge crossings have been destroyed in military conflict. The Australian versions, for example, while they were quite stable, they (using other Jets) were not able to deliver the speed and thrust performance that the U.S. Boats employing concepts borrowed from the Army’s BEB might just be the ticket for shallow draft operations. This will possibly create as many as 4,000 jobs locally over a span of 4-5 years under Make in India," Bernard Buisson, Managing Director of DCNS India said.
At about the same time, and to better support its international and domestic clientele, the company also announced it has moved its manufacturing and operational headquarters to Denver, Colorado. In the BEB concept, NAMJet performed so well that Birdon went ahead and purchased the company back in 2011.
RFP’s were submitted in March 2013 and an extensive questions and answer period for all of the competitors ensued.
This gap allows for certain amounts of sand and grit to pass through with minimum or no damage.
It’s those sorts of things that make our propulsion units less susceptible to the conditions that you are talking about. Sources have told ET that at present, the French company is in talks with companies such as Kirloskar (for pumps), Godrej, Walchandnagar Industries Limited and Flash Forge for manufacturing critical parts for the projects in India.



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