ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.-Though only one Joint Assault Bridge vehicle has been completed here during the past two years, the depot is still on track with its JAB production for the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army.

Design improvements on the bridging system continue, and several JABs are in production now with more planned over the next several years.

The depot demonstrated the JAB prototype in 2006 after years of design work by the USMC. Defense contractors and other government agencies partnered with the Marines to develop the vehicle's subsystems and assemblies, said Tim Parker from Marine Corps Systems Command.

Parker said the Marine Corps chose Anniston as its JAB production site because of the depot's "experience and expertise building heavy equipment."

The JAB is able to reach speeds equal to those attained by the M1 Abrams and Bradley combat vehicles and comes equipped with a 60-foot bridge, said Brian Anderson, chief of the depot's Technology Integration Division.

It was the cancellation of the Defense department's Wolverine program that pressed officials to find another bridge launching system. "There was a shortfall in the military's bridging capability due to the inability of the M60 AVLB to keep pace during combat operations," said Anderson.

As the original equipment manufacturer of both the JAB and the Assault Breacher Vehicle, the depot has its fabrication shops in high gear making the parts for both systems.

"We're basically building to the drawings provided and making sure all of the new parts work together in the end," said Dave Sok, a production program analyst for the JAB and ABV.

Once the depot welders and machinists complete the armor covers and JAB turrets, mechanics in the depot's Stanley Maintenance Facility work alongside Defense contractors to assemble the JAB and test its subsystems, said Joe Cox, supervisor in the tank systems branch.