General Dynamics European Land Systems to demonstrate Ponton Boot system for civil protection and disaster relief

Posted on 2021-10-21

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  • System will be demonstrated on the Elbe River in November
  • The Ponton Boot project is part of the DIVERS program of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy

Dynamics European Land Systems-Bridge Systems (GDELS-Bridge Systems) announced today that it has successfully completed development with an alliance of public and private partners of a new improved, modular and multinational platform known as Ponton Boot for civil protection and disaster relief efforts.

The prototype of the new ponton boot will be present at an official event on the Elbe River in Hamburg in November.

The development of Ponton Boot is part of the DIVERS program ("Innovation Program to Support Diversification Strategies of Defense Companies into Civil Security Technologies") launched in December of 2018 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI).

The Ponton Boot demonstrator, manufactured at GDELS-Bridge Systems in Kaiserslautern, has been specially developed for the needs of disaster relief operations. Its simple, safe and modular design allows it to be used even at higher water-flow speeds, such as in acute flood operations. When needed, heavy-duty bridges, transport platforms for vehicles, or large evacuation platforms for people and animals can be assembled using the modular system..

New concepts and developments

Ponton Boot consists of a unique modular ponton system that enables multiple configurations to be assembled in very little time, from a simple single boot to a heavy transport platform. This system uses a new connection concept developed by GDELS-Bridge Systems.

The system works with BASILISK, an autonomous operating reconnaissance system developed with the Faculty of Robotic Systems at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. BASILISK is an autonomous surface drone that supports Ponton Boot for security and hazard prevention. The Equipped with cameras, sensors and sonar systems, it can map the area in the early stages of operations. Like the ponton boot system itself, the BASILISK can also be controlled remotely and navigate autonomously via GPS.

In parallel, joint venture partner SZENARIS is developing special VR and AR-based training options specifically for the needs of the Ponton Boot user. SZENARIS makes it possible to provide virtual training for all conceivable scenarios.

In the first work package, requirements were defined by the partners based on actual scenarios to support the broad spectrum of civil security needs on both inland waters and coastal areas with just one system, The requirements were developed based on inputs from the German Federal Federal Agency for Technical Relief (Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk), in cooperation with the Fire Department from the cities Kiel, Wesel Berlin and Federal Police, DLRG and, the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies Germany.

The prototype was developed, designed and tested by GDELS-Bridge Systems for suitability and operator safety in extensive model driving tests. For this purpose, the joint venture partner DST (Entwicklungszentrum für Schiffstechnik und Transportsysteme e.V. - Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems) produced scale models of all configurations and tested them in all defined loading conditions in the in-house water channel in Duisburg.

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