The Leopard 1 hull was actually redesigned for Biber. The most obvious change is the addition at the rear of a battery compartment, similar to that used on Gepard. At the front, the angled corners of the tank hull were eliminated by extending the sides of the main hull forward to meet a full-width glacis plate. A second access hatch in the hull top was introduced alongside the driver’s hatch. The crew only consists of two, commander and driver. The laying of the bridge can be down fully closed-up, under armour, or remotely from outside the machine.
The bridge itself was designed for the load class MLC 50 (military load classification 50 tonnes), measured twenty-two metres in length and had a roadway four metres wide. It was capable of bridging a 20-metre gap. The bridge weight was approximately 9.5 tonnes. It was constructed of light pressed sheet metal made up into an upper section (the roadway) and a lower section of vertical plates. With the vehicle on the move, the bridge is carried above the chassis in two symmetrical sections.
Delivery of all 105 vehicles from the prime contractor, MaK, was made in 1973 and 1974, plus 124 tank assault bridges. Bibers were also exported to the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Italy, Denmark and Chile.