Trials of Ajax armoured vehicles were halted at the end of last year to March this year due to excessive vibration and noise, leaving crews suffering from nausea, swollen joints and tinnitus.

The Sun first reported news that General Dynamics built Ajax had encountered significant design problems, cited a leaked document outlining the excessive vibration and other issues.

The upcoming Defence Select Committee report is reported by the Telegraph to say the vehicles cannot reverse over obstacles more than 20 centimetres high, that personnel must wear noise-cancelling headphones when operating them and undergo ear tests afterwards, and that the Household Cavalry Regiment “cannot conduct effective collective training” in them.

In a statement, the MoD confirmed trials had been halted but have also said that trials had resumed.

“We are committed to the Ajax program which will form a key component in the Army’s modernised warfighting division, with current plans for initial operating capability scheduled for summer 2021.

The MoD can confirm that some training on the Ajax family of vehicles was paused as a precautionary measure. This is a normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects; an investigation, incorporating trials, is being carried out jointly with the manufacturer. It is inappropriate for us to comment further at this time. The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are committed to providing a safe working environment.”

General Dynamics UK told Defense News here that it is working with the Army on the issues.

“Recent trials have confirmed many of the required capabilities across the AJAX Family of Vehicles, including operations across the full range of speed and reverse step obstacle climb. A small number of remaining issues are being reviewed and closed out in partnership with the British Army and Ministry of Defence ahead of Initial Operating Capability.”

In a recent report by the Defence Committee, titled ‘Obsolescent and outgunned: the British Army’s armoured vehicle capability’, defence expert Francis Tusa explained that the lack of domestic investment in armoured vehicle programmes and upgrades resulted in the “design capability in the UK being run down” which had resulted in some of the technical problems seen on the Ajax and Warrior programmes.

This assertion was supported by evidence from General Dynamic UK, who said:

“AJAX is the first major armoured vehicles programme to be delivered in the UK since Challenger 2 in the early 1990s and consequently it has taken time for both the MoD and industry to rebuild skills in armoured vehicles procurement, design, development and delivery.”

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Mac
Mac
5 months ago

We should face facts, we’re just not upto to the job of designing & building world class armoured vehicles anymore. It’s a weak point, same with side arms & rifles. It’s just not our forte.

Others do it better, We end up wasting too much money trying to prop up an indigenous capability that does nothing but deliver 2nd rate, compromised equipment to the men & women whose lives will be dependant on it.

They deserve better.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

That not completely true. i mean the challenger 3 is great tank or hopefully will be.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

Challenger family is indeed great DNA, but the essence of your comment is in the last four words, Sir. We must never underestimate the current MoD/GS, and even GD, to balls it up.
Regards

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

i mean happened with warrior and Nimrod and that stealth fighter programme we had to cancel cause of cost over runs and instead went for the f35.

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

No such program dude.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Maybe he means FOAS or one of the Warton UAVs.

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

First time I heard of a UK pre-F-35 stealth fighter program?

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Didnt know we had a programme in place to develope an Stealth fighter.
What was it called , who was developing it.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

BAE completed a design study called Replica. I don’t think it ever got as far as a flying airframe though. Was prob to convince the US to bring the UK on board for the F35 or we would have gone ahead with our own development.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Thanks for that

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Probably UAV trials out of Warton. There was something called HALO I recall and quite a few flying triangle sightings in the mid to late 90s. BAE Special Projects site has built plenty more than just Taranis.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

” i mean the challenger 3 is great tank or hopefully will be.”
No, it is obsolescent. Any modern tank designed today would be a variation concept of Armata with all ammunition in unmanned turret, the only change would engine in front or back

dan
dan
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Correct me if I’m wrong but the Armata has never been in combat so that’s just hype. Btw I would bet on a Brit crew in an Challenger 2/3 or a Yank crewed M1-A2C/D anyday against a Russian crew manning an Armata.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

The Armata concept is superior to either Challenger that is the worse having ammunition in human compartment and M1 which way better than Challenger have humans more exposed in turret.
Challenger have not been in combat with a peer. It never faced Kornets like M1 so that argument is not valid. Besides i am talking about conception not realization.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

ahh yes your average Britain hater. I admit the Armata family is impressive. but isn’t it embarrassing that it slipped of the back of its truck? we may compare the russikis to bears but in essence they are nothing but panda bears.

Meirion X
Meirion X
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Challenger did face T72s back in 1991, that is what our peer had mostly, back then.

Last edited 5 months ago by Meirion X
AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

There wasn’t combat between Iraqi Republican Guard T-72 and Challengers 1.

I suppose you know the most advanced tank in Soviet arsenal at time was T-64 and T-80’s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Most CR ammo is stored below the turret ring. Anyway if the turret receives a penetrating hit the turret crew will probably be killed, irrespective of whether the ready-round ammunition explodes.
None of the Armata crew have good situational awareness and none could get into the turret to sort out a fault with the autoloader or any turret services. Plus the Russians said they would have 2,300 Armata in unit service by 2020 – they have fielded precisely zero, and can’t afford to buy that number anyway.
they said they would be. https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a36006796/russia-secret-main-battle-tank/

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

yes. 100%. Russians while being tuff, their training is no match for our training.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

Armata isn’t even yet deployed to units. About a score are being evaluated at Test Centres.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Soviets/Russians have always had a different design philosophy for their AFVs – doesn’t mean they design best-in-world equipment and that other country’s designs are sub-par/obsolescent. Unmanned turret is not the panacea, just a different way to go; it does not automatically confer success in combat. Armata has many problems, not least of which is affordability – the Russians unveiled Armata in June 2015 yet still have none in front-line service, just a score of experimental versions undergoing evaluation at test centres. Also,the crew are all forward facing in the static hull and huge reliance is placed on monitors to… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Nope.

lee1
lee1
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Armata that seems to struggle getting up hills…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

It may be great but we have to wait to 2030 for FOC – ridiculous. It’ll need an upgrade as soon as it is fully fielded, as it will have 10+year old technology on board.

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

heard claims like this before, see my post above.?

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

We used to design and build a whole range of military kit, much of which was also exported. Then we had a period of privatisation (ROF) and consolidation (BAE bought it all). With no orders, BAE shut down many operations, selling off sites profitably for development. In contrast, France has overseen similar operations consolidated into a state controlled company Nexter which has not closed things down in pursuit of quick profits. Now contracts are awarded to one of the global giants who in theory have expertise somewhere in their organisation. But LM have failed with Warrior and admitted poor management… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

It was Thales that had problems developing Crowsnest not Lockheed.

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

The contract was awarded to LMUK. Thales was a subcontractor . LM have admitted they failed to manage the development adequately.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Yes LM have admitted they failed to provide oversight of Thales and manage delivery schedule.

Johan
Johan
5 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

The only Problem with Crowsnest was, Leonardo, Killed the test Aircraft and needed repair and the Baggie created an imbalance and vibration which was causing Composite Panels to fracture. modified design to fit to the weapon’s point.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

BAE arent a charity and the reason the Govt(s – Major and Blair) encouraged them to consolidate the industry was precisely so they could close it all down and the Govt get minimum flak for that whilst spending nothing. Govts insisted on competing projects at overhead cost, and the military and CS procurement lot are utterly clueless and really think they are owed equipment for peanuts and so spent 2 decades stropping at the costs BAE qouted for stuff, then ended up paying that anyway but now to GD and LM who dont even deliver. The stuff is riddled with… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Agreed- this mess has been a long time in the making. BAE did warn government that it would close Newcastle if new orders were not forthcoming but no-one had the sense to think longer term and order enough new builds to keep capabilities going.
Now we are restarting from scratch and it’s not going well.
I actually think this government has understood: the idea of a land industrial strategy is the right approach. Let’s hope it is more than words!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

After Trojan and Titan we should have ordered HARRV to replace CRARRV. That would have kept expertise going and given REME a modern ARRV with more compatibility with the CR2 that it supports.
We should also have got BAE to do CR2 LEP earlier and WCSP earlier.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Exactly. And an APC variant of CR2 for some urban tasks. HARRV was AS90 based wasnt it? Another one hit wonder with so much sqaundered potential we are now going to spend billions to replace it whilst the US Army still has M109s which we binned off for AS90. At least the unmodernised CR2s may offer modern hulls for a CRARRV2… Titan/Trojan did a lot of work with the Chally hull to improve it, incl roof hung seats iirc as better blast protection – I hope that is fed into CR3… Our Ajax/WR thing comes to our silo’d mentality of… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

HARRV (which might have ended up being called CRARRV2), I think was to be CR2 based, but it did not really get beyond the Concept phase; AS90 would have been an odd choice as a base for a heavy recovery vehicle, particularly as its armour was probably even lighter than CRARRVs.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I may well be mis-informed, but I thought the logic (this was 2001ish) was HARRV would work with Arty (AS90/MLRS) units and some Brigade recovery units where the full capabilities of a CRARRV were not really needed but a lot were allocated and were also “orphan” CR platforms in terms of maintenance. I never really considered that armour was a big deal on an ARRV (but could be wrong!) – it was more about having the pulling power to recover something eg CR2/AS90. Hopefully the reundant CR2s can now form the basis of a new CRARRV as the existing ones… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Hi Rogbob, My memory has faded over the last 20 years about the HARRV project and there seems to be nothing on the Internet. You may be right that it would support Arty as AS90 were supported initially by ageing Chieftain ARRV. I am sure that as the army reduced the number of tank regiments that CRARRV were released to replace CHARRV in support of AS90, and that maybe HARRV wasn’t needed for that role. I am not sure what armour protection CRARRV has, whether it was full CR1 Chobham armour or something less. Of course CRARRV conducts forward repair… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hey, no worries I’m only going off what I was told at the time. AS90 was then latest large hulp in production. Any ARRV needs some protection as Telic had numerous examples of CRARRVs taking fire during a task and iirc there were some awards to some reccy mechs for that, but I dont think it’s on CR2 scale, although the weight would be useful (needed!) as ballast on a pull! Dont knoe to be honest but CR2 has some security limits applied if damaged to protect the nature of the armour and iirc a damaged CRARRV was treated as… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

I don’t think we have ever developed a recce AFV from a tank or infantry vehicle. Do you have examples?

I think the problem was that Tracer made us consider the US belief in a large, heavy recce vehicle – so we tended towards ASCOD, then the project got mission creep and became also a strike vehicle which confirmed the large, heavy platform was the way to go.
We end up getting a multi-role vehicle that could well be a good strike vehicle when de-bugged but will make an unwieldy recce vehicle.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No we havent, but point out any army that has spent 20 years focussing on a “scout vehicle” at the expense of tank/infantry. Perhaps it is time we did? Pretty much everyone uses recce variants of whatever they are developing anyway. CVRT could have easily been replaced by WR and Boxer variants. Or at least if it has to be this big thing, recognise that and put WR replacement into it. Again, we just have to be special. Billions for a specialised recce vehicle in an age of unmanned systems. 10 years just spent on powerpoint and nice “2 star… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Thanks mate. I have not seen a good definition of strike but presume it means defeating sub-MBT threats, such as light and medium armour and maybe dismounted troops in the open. I could well be wrong.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

BAE built Trojan and Titan, but received no orders to build further CR2s, or to undertake CR2 upgrade work – so got rid of their new tank factories in Leeds and Newcastle.

I don’t know that LM failed with Warrior – the MoD failed to force the pace of WCSP or to place a WCSP contract quickly enough, then MoD cancelled the Project.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Perhaps they should have used the warrior 2000 E30 turret with bushmaster as it was successfully fitted to prototype ?

Jay
Jay
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

No we can’t since BAE sold off our armour building capabilities. However this is not our design, the proven CV90 should have been purchased from the very start.

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay

Agreed. BAE offered to manufacture it here and it already had a 40 mm cannon. I’m sure ministers didn’t trust BAE in the light of Nimrod.
I still don’t understand why a vehicle designed 30 years ago and in production for 25 should cause the problems mentioned.

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

If you have a suspension designed for a 19t vehicle that became 25t, its a stretch thinking it will work for 38t to 42t. You only have to look at panther cmd vehicle which was a ok light jeep but crappy when made a heavy jeep, also more expensive than better protected vehicles!

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  peter wait

If the weight gain is the cause of the problem, then a quick fix seems unlikely. I understand the first 14 Ares APC variant have been delivered, presumably without the noise/ vibration issues. Is the CTA turret mounting the problem? The different LM designed CTA turret for Warrior was causing problems. Both GD and LM have blamed CTA for the delays and difficulties.

Alex
Alex
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

A bit of perspective – the CV90 based Scout successfully fired CT40 back in 2010, using a version of the MTIP2 turret which had previously fired from a Warrior. I saw videos of CV90 weighted to over 40 tonnes climbing steps of over 1m and travelling at at least 60kph with no reported issues. Whilst I’m fairly sure that BAE lost on political issues, not technical, every time I look at AJAX, it reminds me that we have a production vehicle built by a company who has admitted it has had to “rebuild skills in armoured vehicles procurement, design, development… Read more »

Johan
Johan
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

UKGovs does not trust BAEs and it cannot tender for UK Contracts as a Main Contractor, has to be a joint but never a Lead. due to Nimrod and the execution of the UK Harrier Fleet in a Pissing contest over budgets

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

The Alivis range of vehicles was the last successful British produced range .

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

GKN also produced a good family of AFVs – the FV430 series.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Forgot

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

This is why we have trials. To find things that might need improvements. All projects do this, and most run in to problems at some stage. That is an overly negative outlook. And a very British outlook. Presuming that everyone else does it better. When they clearly don’t.

farouk
farouk
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Exactly

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

You test prototypes, Challenger 2 had several now at tank Museum. You build them first before starting a production run!

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

These aren’t trials though, they are acceptance tests. The trials supposedly completed years ago, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it failed those too and we went ahead anyway hoping something would change.

John Hampson
John Hampson
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

Really. The Ajax, is a Austrian/Spanish design, it is being built by an American company,General Dynamics using Swedish steel, fabricated in Spain. The engine and gear train are German. The turret is being built by Lockheed ( US) and Rhienmetall ( German). All the UK basically does to assembly everybody else’s parts.
The MOD rejected the British option proposed by BAE with the CV90 to be built at the Vickers plant in Newcastle.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Hampson
Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  John Hampson

Echo Rogbobs post. I think the problem ( with procurement) which repeats itself lies within the UK political establishment itself. BAE for example is still at its heart a fine British engineering company which proposed good solutions to UK requirements. But it has been rejected by a UK political establishment which doesn’t trust itself, let alone potential suppliers. So commercially BAE decided to work in the US, where by all accounts their skills and those of their wise acquisitions are respected. This inability to engage in mutually respectful trusting relationships seems to be unique to the UK or at least… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Paul.P
Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

BAE under Mike Turner had a habit of telling the Govt the truth. This went doen extremely badly with the Govt who have never been interested in truth. That shiney things that do amazing things are expensive, and if you dont order some the ability to produce them will be lost. That didnt suit MoD which wanted to pretend things could be cheap by the addition of the adjective “smart” to everything. The irony being that just made every term longer… MoD also didnt want to order physical things because it wanted to play with powerpoint and new vocabularly. It… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Perceptive comparison; appreciate the education. Cardwell it seems banned flogging, purchased commissions and a culture of amateurism from the British Army. Indeed the MOD needs comparable reforms.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

It seems amateurism wasnt banished quite enough 🙂

The abhorrance for even part of the various officer corps to be specialists, the obsession with the posting & promotion cycle/travelator and the ingrained mentality of “I commanded a troop-squadron-regiment-brigade so of course I can make finely balanced decisions on procurement of kit against time, cost and qaulity” – needs to be broken.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Very harsh. All staff trained officers do a technical pre-course. My Division 1 course at Shrivenham was 10 months long; others did the shorter Div 2 or 3 course. It is deemed to be an advantage that staff officers have regimental experience and great familiarity with using in-service equipment, often in arduous conditions/combat.
Many officers do several tours in procurement and build on their experience. Some officers are specialists, indeed most officers in the technical Corps are considered to be specialists. I see no great advantage in staffing DE&S only with officers who don’t want promotion!

SD67
SD67
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Excellent post.

I remember a conversation with a senior BAE bod around that time :
“The biggest problem with UK defence procurement is business class travel across the Atlantic”
The US defence majors had better BS, better powerpoint presentations and slicker client engagement I mean who wants a business trip to Manchester

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  SD67

Quite – I recall very well the PT demand for meetings to be in the US despite 80% attendees being from the UK, and all those Virgin Atlantic air miles wont earn themselves.

The corruption is at low level, but its justified becasue of what people see at the higher level. A total failure of leadership, but the promotions and honours continue apace.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

As regards leadership I think Ben Wallace is doing ok. He is obviously not a practised public speaker but I thought he handled himself well in Parliament answering questions on a difficult defence review. The RN construction program is going ok. There seems to be some welcome discernment at work in differentiating between ‘commodities’ like patrol frigates and supply ships versus ‘circus acts’ like ASW. And the right decisions have been taken to rebuild lost skills in submarine design and construction. If you put on your rose coloured specs you might generously view the various armoured vehicle programs as growing… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I dont think the problem or fault lies with the elected politicans, they are in and ouut so fast their feet barely touch the ground. The issue is the uniformed politicians who ling ago abandoned leadership and where we select and reward those good at internal politics vs actual managment or leadership. Hence our started cadre is probably the worst bunch of officers we could get as all they care about is themseleves, and their conceit for their own decisions has no grounding in reality, let alone accountability. Its just an endless travelator for those who like that kind of… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

At this point I have to defer to your better informed knowledge on selection. Networking is universal. All organisations tend to select candidates who ‘fit in’, or are ‘one of us’. It works in other countries; especially well in France. Ours in still based on patronage rather than merit. In most countries it results in the creation of inclusive programs: domestic firms are considered to be a part of the national team, trusted to contribute their engineering skills; not as as threats or adversaries. The establishment MOD spin is that they represent the taxpayer and that ( having been privatised)… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Quite, having seen it on both sides over decades, the MoD is exactly as you describe as are the staff of the big companies do have incredible patience. Or just give up! But why do people become fearful and paranoid? I’d say its their own limits of knowledge and their lack of confidence that reinforces a human trait to fear the worst, and in the absence of correction, to catastrophise. The endless contracting out of all technical expertise has worsened this as there is nobody who can correct it. The MoD uses Independent Technical advisors in an effort to paper… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Yes, we are in a downwards spiral. It will be difficult to reverse: but not impossible. Several points to make but I have to be careful not to wander off into metaphysical spheres otherwise the mods will delete me. So what I write is in the context of the ability to defend oneself and one’s country. Firstly there’s nothing wrong with fear; it is a natural response to threats. It exists in order, hopefully, to initiate a courageous, proportionate and compassionate response. I think what is happening is that within the MOD (and probably throughout government) behaviours are determined by… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Very good point about contracting out some of the technical expertise. The rot set in when Design Authority status transferred from a MoD R&D Establishment to Industry, then the RARDE organisation became DERA then DRA and dstl losing a huge amount of in-house capability. What we had at Chertsey, Christchurch, Malvern and Fort Halstead at one time was incredible.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  SD67

I think the BAE Bod was talking about his company personnel freque try flying business class to the US.Very rare for British staff officers to have that luxury!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

Its not us that designed the thing. It’s a development of ASCOD originally developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug and Santa Bárbara Sistemas in the early 1990s. It is being built by a US Company, General Dynamics (who took over the ASCOD companies nearly 20 years ago), albeit with ‘UK’ tacked onto the end of their name, and with British labour. Maybe it was not wise to grow and bulk out a 20-year old design! BAE instead offered to build the far less troublesome CV90 in the UK – maybe we should have taken up their offer, but it would still have been foreign-designed, my point… Read more »

Richard
Richard
5 months ago
Reply to  Mac

We build the world’s best sniper rifle…

SD67
SD67
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Funny thing, a Polish colleague on my current Project, when he learned I’m based in the UK, first question : “How close are you to Accuracy International?”

I had to jump on Google maps LOL

Stephen Ng
Stephen Ng
4 months ago
Reply to  Mac

give me your mac and your “cheese” bby

Lazerbenabba
Lazerbenabba
2 months ago
Reply to  Mac

NB General Dynamics designed this mess.
Plus it has to be hoped that, that company is financing the greater part of making good this “Pig’s Ear”

Andy Reeves
Andy Reeves
2 months ago
Reply to  Mac

we’re not vry good at anything anymore the navy has the tye 45 destroyer(allegedly the best afloat) and vehicles that are too noisy that doesn’t like warm weather and submarines which are allegedly the best in the world, yet, they cost ten time what a conventionally powered submarines cost and take twice as long to build? can’t reach the designers projected top speed, are already rusting inside,unpopular with its crews who think they’re cursed(submariners are a very supersticious kind).we’ve more subs in mothballs than make up th front line surface fleet the old polaris boats have been mothballed for longer… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
5 months ago

Mmm first Warrior upgrade now Ajax problems! Both the same company at the heart of it or am I reading to much inti it?

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

WCSP was a Lockheed Martin UK programme, AJAX is General Dynamics UK.

Jacko
Jacko
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Yep,my bad😀

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago

It would appear that Whole Body Vibration management is the new Health and Safety “big thing” for MOD projects. In the RN, RIB drivers have for some time had to be monitored for whole body vibration exposure. Numerous other specialisations who work in noisy environments get the usual MOD hearing protection as they always have. Now they also get hearing tests to monitor any hearing degradation that may be caused by PPE that does not reduce exposure to an acceptable exposure level. A good example was gunner’s and maintainers using hearing protection that was OK for a noise exposure level… Read more »

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

ah yes. but you got to remember we are operating on a tight budget and can’t add remote operated turrets. I mean we can’t be arsed to add a new vls that is designed to be cheap to our cheaper and lower end frigates.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

It’s not a case of ‘can’t be arsed ‘ it depends on the requirements and need. And also the T31 has a cost cap of 250M per vessel so we can actually afford them, then develop them once I’m service. We can’t carry on spending over 1bn for one Frigate. That’s why we end up with cuts. It’s a business model we should have adapted years go. And probably the reason why we can potentially increase the FF/DD force to 24.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Ya but how much would next gen vls cost. Can’t we just squeeze in an extra 10 million?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

It doesnt work like that. The T31 is for the lower end of the escort force mix. The general purpose T23 has managed for years without highly expensive high end weapon.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

All good points: as ever. I suspect this is driven by HSE campaign(s) regarding HAVS and hearing loss. The next issue is going to be dust and fumes. And various people suing MOD for the damage cause by the effects of historical exposures. But IRL why would you want to expose people to damaging levels of anything? Just because we were is not really an argument for it going forwards. Treating your own guys better is only going to aid retention. I shudder when I think of some of the crazy things I was exposed to and count myself fortunate… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 months ago

Lawyers have milked the government dry from hearing loss claims, 99% completely made up. Every single police officer in Northern Ireland put in a hearing loss claim because using hear protection wasn’t documented at the firing range so all 20,000 of them where to stupid to put it on apparently and hear ringing all the time. At 5k a claim that’s 200m, still pocket change on what has been pissed away on this catastrophy of a project.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago

I fired small arms, 20mm 7A and BMARC, TWIN and single 30mm, 40mm Bofors worked on flight decks …a lot… hence my hearing aids and me saying “can you say that again please” a lot!!

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Flight decks always seem to be a bit of a common theme.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

To be fair around the whole health and safe thing, we did end up with a whole generation of very deaf retired Matelots. It’s been quite an expensive Job providing all the hearing screening and support as well as a lot of number of war disablement pensions.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yep… I’m one of em.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago

great. just perfect. exactly what we need right now. at the time of a financial crisis.

Last edited 5 months ago by Nate M
QuentinD63
QuentinD63
5 months ago

Seriously, those responsible for this mess need to get it sorted and asap! And the Defence Minister needs to keep on top of it and hopefully a really good vehicle will finally emerge.

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch
5 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Well the current defence secretary has only been in post since 2019 whilst AJAX became a project in 2010. With out serious amounts of cash I do not see how this can be saved.
Maybe we have to refuse the whole lot, sue GD and just buy off the shelf.

Compared to the RAF and RN the Army’s equipment plan is in an incredible mess. Our land vehicles are a total joke. The only good thing about the army is the men and the helicopters they field.

Nicholas
Nicholas
5 months ago
Reply to  QuentinD63

Isn’t the Defence minister ultimately responsible?

john
john
5 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Yes he is but he is also a politician and can rarely be touched, he also knows swat about what the army needs, or how to get it.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 months ago
Reply to  john

Become an MP then and do a better job. No?? Then let the man do his job. He is ex Army, and has a very difficult and demanding job to balance the need and budget of the three services.

john
john
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Tried that not possible with either party you need to serve for years and even then I would need a powerful sponsor to get any where. So for me or you we can only dream.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  john

Didn’t he do like 7 years. Surely u done more then that right?

john
john
5 months ago
Reply to  Nate M

Sorry I meant serving a political party and yes 22 plus a bit years ago.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  john

what so you have seen actions in Iraq and Afghanistan? Oh by Iraq i mean the later stages( the COIN bit from 2003-2011) of the war not the initial invasion.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 months ago
Reply to  john

Not me mate. I wanted to join the forces. So I did. 👍

john
john
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Tried the politician thing when I left Army. No hope at all so gave up which thinking back was what they wanted.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 months ago
Reply to  john

It’s a thankless profession. I’m amazed anyone wants to do it.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I always work on the assumption most of them are actually trying to make a difference. Like all human beings they get it wrong and right in equal measure.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Agree mate. I don’t think all politicians are bad, I think many go into it with generally good intentions. It’s a thankless job, and you can be sacked every 4/5 years. Bugger that.

Jonathan
Jonathan
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Not only that no one seems to want to hear the actual truth anymore and then at the same time accuse politicians of being dishonest. Talk about dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

David Cameron is photographed being impressed with ASCOD and signed the contract lol

Mike
Mike
5 months ago

The vehicle is still in the trial phase, and that is what it’s for. The designers use this time to address and fix these types of problems. Once in service the Ajax will be a step change in how Armoured Reconnaissance is done in the future. The platform just needs time to mature and have these faults identified and removed.

Kizzy p
Kizzy p
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Im glad somebody pointed that out !!!!!..same as all the crying that the QE was sinking ….Media hype over issues that any major new project has. If you look at pretty much any domestic / foreign military kit since the beginning of time it takes a while for it to reach its maturity. Writing the Ajax off in the trials stage is hardly well conceived.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  Kizzy p

The vehicle was selected 11 years ago. These are not trials, they are user acceptance tests and these problems should have been identified and ironed out at least 5 years ago. The problems with the CTA cannon where also well known 6 years ago so if it’s still an issue it’s complete incompetence and miss management if gdls has been receiving payments until it was demonstrated to work as per the armies initial requirements. I know health and safety laws have changed big time in the last 10 years after injury lawyers milked the government dry on damaged hearing personal… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Agreed mate, it’s a bit of a cluster to say the least.

SD67
SD67
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

The vehicle is not in the trial phase, it’s in production. It just looks like a trial phase because zero repeat zero turreted versions have passed customer QI These are not teething problems but fundamental conceptual and structural limitations. Taking the chassis of a 26 t 1990s APC and loading it up to 42t plus was always going to cause problems. It also means it is practically not air transportable and too heavy for many of the bridges in eastern europe which kinda defeats the point, The MOD bought a power point presentation and has been throwing good money after… Read more »

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  SD67

“The MOD bought a power point presentation”

Key phrase.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

And trips to sunny America, rumour has it a vehicle is off to Millbrook for Horstman to find a solution as they need experts lol

Mike
Mike
5 months ago
Reply to  SD67

I think your wrong. It is not in production less testing platforms and some other variants such as the ARES variant (non-turreted) type.

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Think something like 157 hulls are in production as of August 2020, Perhaps Horstman could convert to hydro-gas suspension- no doubt this would cause more weight gain though?

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  SD67

Hi Ron, the “chassis of a 26 t 1990s APC” is a slightly disingenuous statement. The ASCOD vehicle was used as the “Point of departure” vehicle i.e. somewhere to start the design of AJAX. There is little, apart from cosmetics, in common between the two. The AJAX family of vehicles are still undergoing trials with the Army whilst development and production run alongside in order to compress the delivery timeline. This can lead to issues such as those currently being reported but it is an iterative process: Find stuff out, propose a solution, design that engineering solution, incorporate into a… Read more »

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Not Ron, SD67! DOH!

DJ
DJ
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

If this is taking you 10 years after you already had a working pre-production prototype on a fairly standard land vehicle, then you are doing it wrong. Tweaking it is one thing. This is not tweaking. You don’t need the customer to tell you when it’s this bad. The customer should not have been anywhere near it. Instead of being leading edge, there are now better of the shelf vehicles available from more than one manufacturer. The likes of Hanwha have no problems turning a K21 into a AS21 within a couple of years.

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  DJ

I agree the Redback is a good truck, great capabilities too. I’m puzzled by your statement that “the customer should never have been near” the platform. If this is the case, how do GD know what to build? How do they maintain a relationship with the MOD? The MOD’s stringent requirements set meant that the AJAX vehicles are light years away from the poor old Ascod that was used as the basis of a new design so I’m told.

cheers

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

There should not be problems of this level at this point. It makes a mockery of CADMID to be appying such absurd limits to what is supposedly a fighting vehicle when you already in prodcution. Hell, they should have been identified in Assessment let alone Demonstration. The trials now should be confirming that all the previous work has paid off and worst case a few minor unforseens or less than expected with a solid reason to back up why that was the case. That Warrior was binned because again the Army had spent 10 years progressing something that fundamentally did… Read more »

DJ
DJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Ian

These are/were (I understand), acceptance trials, not prototype testing trials. This normally means the manufacturer should know what the customer is expecting at this stage. If a vehicle, military or not, routinely makes its crew physically sick, then you don’t give it to the customer to try. At acceptance trial stage, a vehicle should be somewhere near the mark. Did the manufacturer do no testing of its own first?

Ian M
Ian M
4 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Ask any soldier that has been across country in an early Warrior, that’s definition of ‘physically sick’.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

So they bought a paint shop picture of a vehicle that did not exist when other vehicles that did exist were available and worked, that’s bonkers !

david
david
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Very true. What is worrying to me is if it is the base design causing these issues, it’s never an easy fix and requires adding weight to suppress the noise and the additional stresses imposed due to the vibration will cause fatigue problems in the future. I hope these cost are only absorbed by the manufacturer and not the tax payer!

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
5 months ago

On Forces.net the same defence expert mentioned in this article says the Ajax programme is doomed to fail if the MOD ignores the report.

If he is correct then the MOD should quickly clarify its intention to continue the project or not. In the most unlikely event that the project is cancelled, then I hope the MOD have prepared a firing squad for the idiots who authorised the project with no oversight whatsoever, and a hefty bill to General Dynamics for this costly farce.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 months ago

The problem is that the services liaison guys are rotated so frequently. To quote the late great fictional Sir Humphrey “rotation is castration: impermanence is impotence” BTW one of the more recent IRL post holders said something similar to me about a decade or so ago. Who, as customer, responsible for what of this mess will be hard to pin down: but they were clearly clueless. I’d be interested to know who in DSTL and Abbey Wood is responsible for this project as they seem to have been asleep at the wheel too. The degree of technical understanding and technical… Read more »

Derek
Derek
5 months ago

I guess the day they were supposed to work on noise and vibration control, they were all at an event where they awarded themselves yet another ‘Award for Excellence’ in delivery of the programme.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago

Sir Arnold says that civil servants have to move every 2 years to escape any responsibility of the “squalid professional management”

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Spot on!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

!!!!!

It was a very good documentary sitcom.

I remember Gus O’Donnell saying that for years it was viewed as a how-to guide …..I think he repeated that to camera for the recent follow on series.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago

Indeed and as long as there are humans it will always be current.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
5 months ago

Military staff do a 3 year posting max. In that Time you won’t do anything to rock the boat or tank and then move on.

Don’t make any bad decisions…. Don’t make any decisions…

Indecision is the key to flexibility.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

There is another point of view. Ambitious military officers want to get a good report and that means achieving things and getting noticed. No officer got promoted by doing nothing.

Viceroy
Viceroy
5 months ago

Cancel it and order turreted Boxers

Mike
Mike
5 months ago
Reply to  Viceroy

That is a good idea regardless of how Ajax is getting on. Current Boxer does not have enough firepower. By removing Warrior with it’s 30mm turret we are reducing firepower in our IFV’s whilst our potential adversaries have increased theirs.

Viceroy
Viceroy
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

100%. Lunacy to have Strike/MI’s firepower on tracks when you’ve gone for strategically mobile wheels for the APC. Double lunacy when you’ve deleted most of the other tracked firepower and only have ancient Bulldogs etc left which need to be replaced anyway.

I think Generals Carter and Carleton-Smith are working for the opposition.

Last edited 5 months ago by Viceroy
AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago
Reply to  Viceroy

Yeah , you’ll see the Boxers being faster than Ajax except in soft off road. So what does the recon?

Viceroy
Viceroy
5 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

What does the recce? 😁 Boxer variants will have to, 8×8’s pretty good now even in very soft terrain. No choice. Could do CLOSE and FAR variants como Italy or get Frennek type vehicle for covert.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago
Reply to  Viceroy

Yes the Freccia AFV and Recon variants which derives from the Centauro. That is a proper logical military and industrial setup,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Ajax is the new recce vehicle.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Viceroy

I agree order a tried and tested turreted version, other countries have and they seem to fit the bill.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago

Hopefully the Boxer will be more successful and will not be have any problems

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
5 months ago

Let’s hope the engineers at GD are working on a solution.

Wondering if the delivered ARES suffer from the same problems.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 months ago

All Services have been in the same situation, which in any case is not entirely new historically, but some have adapted due to an evident combination of coherent vision & project management. Albeit one accepts that delays and cost over runs are likely inherent. One cannot lose sight of the main lesson learnt from Warrior: that it needed a stabilised turret. After many years of trying to achieve just that, we cancel Warrior. OK, same turret solution on Ajax and potentially Boxer, so allow may have been right sacrifice. Days later we admit that Ajax is to all intents currently… Read more »

DJ
DJ
5 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Might be worthwhile looking at the Hanwha AS21 instead. It was designed from the K21 specifically for the ongoing Australian competition against Rheinmetall KF41 & both companies have put forward the same for the new US Bradley replacement. They have recently offered their K9 howitzer as a replacement for the AS90.

James H
James H
5 months ago

Its just the normal thing, order something, over complicate it with our specifications from the original design and then be shocked it’s not working properly.
We never learn.

TrevorH
TrevorH
5 months ago
Reply to  James H

Correct.

maurice10
maurice10
5 months ago

I flagged this report the other day and the rumours appear to be worsening? The only good news is the existing fleet of old-timers are still in reasonable shape to soldier on, so to speak. All prototypes go through a rough patch, let’s hope this is one of those for Ajax’s sake. Interestingly, modern cad designed vehicles are virtually ready to go once they manifest into real three dimensional objects, and should not be encountering the level of (alleged) failure reported here?

Steve
Steve
5 months ago

Whilst I’m sure this is being over blown by the newspapers, I also suspect there are some elements of truth to the issues. Whether they can be overcome or just lived with, time will tell.

However someone really should do a root cause analysis of issues relating to pretty much every major project and work out what if there are common causes and try and fix them, but my money is on corner cutting and polictics being the main problem and so no one has an interest in the root causes being identified.

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
5 months ago

If the report is accurate, this is a terrible mess. Was someone trying to re – design the wheel with Ajax ? Armoured vehicles have been around for over one hundred years, essentially a hull, a turret, engine, gearbox and gun. It shoots and moves. What was the money spent on? Third world militias nearly have a better track record in producing armoured vehicles. It’s this kind of consequence free gold plated stupidity that ultimately leads to less F35, Typhoons, Wedgetail, Merlin and slow warship build rates. But bonuses and golden handshakes all around…..

Challenger
Challenger
5 months ago

If i’ve got this right 20 Something years ago The Army identified the need for a new light tank/recce platform and a new IFV/APC. After interminable faffing and delays they ended up with 3 programs – a new tracked light tank/recce vehicle, a long in the tooth re-engineered tracked IFV and a new wheeled APC. Now one program has been scrapped and another is 10 years and £3.5 billion in with serious issues and no vehicles delivered. Am I the only one who is baffled by how expensive and complicated the MoD and The Army have made what should be… Read more »

colin
colin
5 months ago

Why didnt we buy the CV90 a lot of countries have bought it even US looking at it even come with TOW Missiles that Boxer doesn’t have

Marked
Marked
5 months ago

Wait until the challenger 2/3 upgrade really kicks off. In 2030 we’ll be in the same position, nowhere near ready to go into service and billions over budget.

We’ve been here before, donkeys running the show.

The British army is just not fit for purpose and that will not change until major changes at the top are made.

Jacko
Jacko
5 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Dont think so,this is a turret swap that already exists and has been fully R&D by Rhienmetall.

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Will the MoD be able to restrain itself and not bury the project in thousands of design change requests?

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

By the way, it’s a mostly brand new turret.

Jacko
Jacko
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron5

Nope,the old turret can not be modified to take the new gun and ammo storage.look closely at the photos and you will see it is a different shape. This has been discussed in the Challenger threads.😀

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Old Turret could have had the back cut off, however makes more sense to fit something that’s newer works and is better protected without the risks projects like warrior seem to have!

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Marked

Quite, if Chally3 is run the same way every other land project is run it will be another catastrophe. Some comedy made a joke about the Army doing what we’ve done 17 times before and expecting it to work. With projects, we basically do: 1) over demanding “transformational” spec requiring lots of new technology all to work and all to be integrated. This distracts us from basic structural and mechanical issues as they arent digital, arent the future and anyone who tries to raise them clearly doesnt understand the “networked cyber strike battlespace” and so deserves (and gets) a stiff… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
5 months ago

And this why I have no faith in tempest… If it ever flies.

John de Ramer
John de Ramer
5 months ago

Why on earth aren’t we buying the Swedish CV90? It does exactly the same job, carries the same amount of crew and soldiers, weighs half as much but has the same speed and armament. It’s used by a lot of our allies like Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Holland and Denmark and over 1000 have been built and proven in combat.

Ron5
Ron5
5 months ago
Reply to  John de Ramer

Too late now but yes, that would have been the correct choice a decade ago.

the_marquis
the_marquis
5 months ago
Reply to  John de Ramer

Built by a UK based multinational arms firm too, so presumably would’ve been easy enough to set up a UK production line…

QuentinD63
QuentinD63
5 months ago
Reply to  the_marquis

Maybe the CV90 it is still a “worse Ajax case” option? It’s been such a big commitment “they” really should try and fix it, for good and fast! No time for more waste and idiots in charge of programs like this.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago

Hamlet Act I Scene IV.
Marcellus ‘There is something wrong in the state of Denmark’.
Meaning. That the situation of Denmark is similar to a fish that rots from head to tail, or in other words, it shows that everything is not good at top of political hierarchy.

Acknowledgement.
https://literarydevices.net/something-is-rotten-in-the-state-of-denmark/

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
5 months ago

Tragically the whole army equipment programme and re organisation is a mess. Twenty plus years of inefficiency, poor decision making and the top brass having no clue as to what they needed, even if there was a budget available. Almost every item of hardware is either out of date, doesn’t work or is not right for purpose. Challenger 3 is a sop to the public in that it is not built abroad; Ajax doesn’t work and we have spent nearly 25 years developing it; in and out and in of the Boxer programme has succeeded in maybe getting a delayed… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Starting with the leadership. Failure comes from the top down.

Yet they all seem very nicely paid, full of honours and a lovely pension with a seemless transition to another job on “retirement”.

Hell even that CEA fraudster was head of a civvy organisation.

Inthink self service has become the raison de etre for our senior officer corps, and the rests are very apparant.

If we we want significant change, we need significant change in how our leaders operate and are rewarded.

farouk
farouk
5 months ago

Help me here, but aren’t new equipment trials meant to reveal any faults prior to full time production. All I see here is a media generated faux outrage.

OOA
OOA
5 months ago
Reply to  farouk

I would venture that if this were the only misgiving, most would be able to treat this as merely a trials issue as was the case with HMS QE. The trouble is that it appears to be a trials issue on a deeply flawed concept.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  farouk

The issue is the trials where completed years ago. It’s now in production and these issues are bring pointed out in the user acceptance trials. They seem pretty fundamental for an 11 year old project

OOA
OOA
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Good point. Also, why can’t our success in (eg.) complex weapons be replicated here? I don’t accept the argument that we’re always just beating ourselves up needlessly; perhaps there is a bit of excess moaning going on but in this case we have real McCoy: A public procurement fiasco. In the private sector, heads would likely roll. And let’s not get started on the weight of the damn thing or, heaven forbid, the caliber of its gun – or we’ll have a scrum of insiders suggesting interested amateurs are stupid because we have not seen the shell pass through 10… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago

Maybe British Army see that Ajax numbers do not make much sense and wants a get out card.

Grant
Grant
5 months ago

This vehicle was chosen because it wasn’t made by BAE not because it was the best option and here we are. It’s amazing how much we pay for this kit… everyone says the carriers are pricey but they are cheaper then Ajax and a world beating capability.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 months ago

So Ajax is … flawed? Well I’m shocked … like hell I am! More procurement gone wrong, from the department of flawed, nefarious, venal corruption agency, responsible for defence procurement!

Time after time these people squander taxpayers money on garbage, from foreign design and manufacturing agencies. We cannot produce our own, because there are so few companies that used to produce military equipment anymore.

Come back Vickers, Armstrong Whitworth, Bedford Vehicles, de Havilland, English Electric, Folland, etc etc etc. The list of company’s was HUGE.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago

I don’t think this is down to any particular manufacturer or project. It’s not even the civil servants mostly. It’s the guys in uniform involved with procurement. A major equipment project takes 5 – 10 yrs to develop just to get to the production stage. The officers involved with drawing up then overseeing the specs are officially only there for 1 yr so in the course of a project there is a 100% staff turnover 5 times ! Each one with their own personal faves for what it should have. The result is inevitable chaos with entry to service and… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

To be fair, it does sound like teething problems really….. That said, the simple route is never followed… Do you: A, Ask the operator of said equipment what they actually want and procure a proven system, in a time sensitive and cost effective manner, perhaps? B, Ask the operator, (then ignore the operator) and go to industry, with a view to buying something to further political objectives at huge cost and always late? The answer is obviously ‘A’ if you have a modicum of common sense, or ‘B’ if you are in Government….. A great example of this was the… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think the least painful solution for the forces would be for them to issue the requirements for what they want then throw them out of the room and lock the doors.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Then do what the Australians do and purchase the best equipment off the shelf at the time the requirements are released. It’s up to UK industry to stay relevant in international exports like the Germans and French do. The navy and airforce seem to do a decent job of procurement with most of their issues being down to political medaling.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Yeah but if you cut the armed forces out of trying to micro-mismanage projects why not buy homegrown. Aussie buys not so simple foreign designs but built at home. Type26.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

UK industry is free to design and propose home grown solutions but should not be dependant on the mod spoon feeding them or it ends up too specific to our requirements. Pulling out of boxer in 2003 was a collosal f up. Had we remained we would have over 600 vehicles in service and prob avoided the UOR warthogs we purchased and scrapped. We could then be focusing on indirect fire and replacing the Warrior with a proper ifv like the Lynx 41

DJ
DJ
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Australia will at times tilt the equation towards its domestic industry. Though over time, that domestic industry has turned into who’s who of the military worldwide industry. That industry has switched on to the fact that Australia prefers to buy Australian designed if they can (if it stacks up), but Australian built utilising local suppliers if they can’t (if at all possible) & they will spend real money to do so. However the Australian way of doing things can be a little odd at times. It is said it took Boeing the best part of 2 years to work out… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  DJ

It did go to Australia to compete in the land 400 competition and tripped on the first hurdle. Cv90 lost out due to costs leaving lynx 41 and the K21 I think it’s called from Korea as the 2 finalists.

It makes you wonder why the Australians rejected it so quickly.

Why where the red flags that have been flying for 10 years never addressed.

Why does it take 10 years to test ares which does not even have a turret and still flag up basic performance failures now.

DJ
DJ
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The Korean entry to the Australian competition is called AS21 “Redback” & was developed from the K21. The K21 is around 25t, while AS21 is around 42t. It has an EOS (Australia) / Elbit (Israel) designed turret.

I believe the AJAX was considered ‘not fit for purpose’.

The Hanwha entry in the US Bradley replacement is also said to be a variant of the AS21. The Rheinmetall KF41 “Lynx” is also competing in both competitions.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Interesting that it was also initially a 25t ifv. Lynx is the only one then built from the ground up to support 40t plus growth margin. We seem to be bulking them out massively to increase protection when 10 years ago the expectation was APS would be used to cut weight.

DJ
DJ
4 months ago
Reply to  BB85

BB Hanwha has managed to do the ASCOD to AJAX type transformation in way less time (& way more successfully). It no doubt helped that Hanwha is a major armoured vehicle designer & manufacturer. They also build the K9 SPG & K10 ammunition carrier. They used the same engine, transmission & basic running gear in the AS21 as they use in the K9 (47t), but with rubber tracks. It helps when you know what your doing. The T2000 turret has APS & Elbit ‘see through armour’ system built in while behaving like an oversized EOS RWS. Everything I have heard… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Ajax was rejected because it could not carry 6 dismounts. Perhaps the company should have offered Ares, not Ajax. You couldn’t make it Up!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Australia rejected Ajax as a replacement for M113 as it couldn’t carry 6 discounts. Incredible that the company did not submit Ares instead of Ajax and that the Aussies did not realise that a recce vehicle had been presented for a AIFV competition.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

In fairness, the Oxzies bought Tiger and NH90 plus their Collins class have hardly been a success. Not to mention Sea Sprite…

They aslo are paying over the odds for stuff that is Aussie built. Difference is they recognise this, the benefits of it and dont gnash their teeeth that they have to do it.

The MoD wants UK build at overseas built costs and refuses to accept reality.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Bet the Japanese don’t have the same problems with Mitsubishi making their tanks lol

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

British Army staff officers do 2 Years in post as a rule but some do longer, particularly those more senior. You get a one week takeover with your predecessor and are expected to be fully up to speed by the end of your first month.

David Steeper
David Steeper
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I got info from Mark Francois member of commons defence ctte. Stated it to Gen Carter who gave comprehensive answer during which he didn’t dispute what had been put to him. If your right you need to tell him.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Steeper
TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
5 months ago

You can see a picture emerging here. Massive cost overruns. And yet more delays. And even when the current issues are sorted out, you have to wonder about this vehicle within the bigger picture. How did it beat the CV-90? It’s incredible. It’s not even a ‘new’ design, it’s based on a 20+ year old one. There are alternatives out there (Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41, and Hanwha’s AS21 Redback IFV). Who will pay for yet another UK defence procurement failure? There will be a few sheepish faces but no comebacks. Fiasco, shambles, incompetence, bonkers politics…. take your pick. Germany has the… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago

How true, we see it time and time again….
Our procurement is the Bloody tail wagging the dog at times……

Last edited 5 months ago by John Clark
Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago

Dare I say ,we would of been better off with the Gemen Linx or Puma 🤐

captain p wash
captain p wash
5 months ago

No expert here….. What’s actually the problem…. ?

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Hope Ajax gets sorted as rather have a British AFV than other nations,and happy we when for challenger 2+3 upgrade then leopard 2 .So don’t get me wrong captain .But I have no doubt some of our MPS are looking a cross the channel so we must do very best to get Ajax ready for our Army as there deserve the best 🇬🇧

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It’s assembled in the UK, that’s about it. Steel is manufactured in sweden, hulls made in Spain, engine and turret in Germany and its all bolted together in Wales.

Andrew D
Andrew D
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Didn’t know that ,but that’s not a good start for AFV platform you’d think there were building a ship 😲

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Hi Mr BB85. The steel is made in Sweden, there isn’t, to my knowledge a British manufacturer of the specific armour plate used. The hulls are constructed in Spain by a GD subsidiary. The engine is produced by a Rolls Royce owned company in Germany. I’m not aware of a UK based engine manufacturer for this type of heavy duty power plant. The transmission is also German, again, I’m not aware of a UK builder of heavy duty, tracked vehicle transmission, braking and steering systems suitable for a 40 mph vehicle. The turret is designed and built by Lockheed Martin… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

The Turret is based off the Lance Turret designed by Rheinmetall. Maybe LM purchased rights to the design to manufacture in the UK. How LM won the contract to integrate the Turret despite having no history is successfully designing or building Turrets is beyond me. The mindset was pretty much anyone but BAE at the time following Nimrod.

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

You are correctamundo there!

peter wait
peter wait
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

CMI defence of Belgium have modern turret expertise and could have supplied them to suit wide choice of guns.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Not much. I think a lot of hyperbole while trials are underway. Problems, yes. Not unusual.

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
5 months ago

Thanks mate…..All I can see is what the Article says above which is surely no big thing…….

Ian M.
Ian M.
5 months ago

A sane voice at last. I’m reading all of the posts. I may join in later

billrla
billrla
5 months ago

Sell them to the enemy.

G Pearce
G Pearce
5 months ago
Reply to  billrla

Problems started when Vickers shut the Leeds plant.we lost the best design and production facility this country ever had

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago

It is a great shame that the Blair/Brown government did not order some Warrior 2000, like most observers hoped they would. That would have kept the UK armoured vehicle business going for a while.
Ajax is a classic lurch from one extreme to the other. Troops in Afghanistan/Iraq injured/killed in inadequate Snatch Land Rovers. Instead of buying something better protected in the 15-20 ton range, we buy a far too heavy 30, more like 40 ton monster, that will be hard to deploy.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The replacement for Snatch was Foxhound, first fielded a decade ago. Ajax is the replacement for Scimitar.

AlexS
AlexS
5 months ago

If Ajax fails, British Army can do a Maginot line with Ajax and Warrior turrets, protecting England from a Continental invasion…!! 🙂

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
5 months ago

What would have kept the UK armour and small arms technology going was if the government rather than just placing a large order every couple of decades gave them a small continuous budget for R&D and prototyping telling them to deliver a couple of prototype tanks for testing and evaluation and if a upgrade was promising they could perhaps upgrade/remanufacture 10-20 a year in an iterative development process. The model Qinetic works too where they can do science for sciences sake even after privatisation.

Sid Morley
Sid Morley
5 months ago

If its not meeting the specifications laid down in the design – why doesn’t the MOD pull the plug, they are not contractually obliged to commit to purchasing sub stand gear, and bailing out private company’s.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

I’m keeping an open mind. While there are questions to be raised in its initial procurement, which may need to be a parliamentary enquiry, we are at the moment where we are. Due to various defence reviews and one or two rather single minded and arrogant CDSs, the wagon is now struggling to find an actual role in the ORBAT. To much money, to much political flannel has gone into this and now I believe it’s a gold plated project to embedded to fail. It will be sorted, but at more cost, more embarrassment and slower into service times. At… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Pretty much spot on in my view mate.

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Absolutely right. This all sits square on the senior “leadership” who have fkd the Army over for decades now through incompetence and their own interests.

BobA
BobA
5 months ago

I’d just like to make one point on here re Army procurement. There seems to be a consensus that the RN and RAF have now got their proverbial in one sock whilst the Army is languishing. But we haven’t really asked why that is. We mustn’t forget that for much of the last decade (or at least from 2008-2014) the Army instigated Op ENTIRETY – which placed its total focus on success on Op HERRICK. Major equipment decisions for conventional war fighting were paused, UoR was king and the real focus was on dismounted close combat and ISTAR / precision… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  BobA

The problem is the army doesn’t really want Mastiff, Ridgeback, Jackal or even Foxhound. They have already scrapped Warthog. They where all purchased in a panic because we had no MRAP vehicles worth talking about. Panther is another farce all on its own. All of these vehicles are due to be replaced under the MRV-P program which is also a procurement mess. We were going to purchase JLTV on the cheap because there where no domestic options. Now the government wants a domestic option but there are only foreign designs available so will end up paying through the nose and get… Read more »

BobA
BobA
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

But that’s really my point, the Army doesn’t want those vehicles NOW because it’s concentrated on war fighting. But it was desperate for them for counter-insurgency and selected the right vehicles and brought them into service rapidly. But the price paid was the neglect of the core equipment plans (lack of budget to do both) because of Op ENTIRETY.

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  BobA

The UOR vehicles where all funded by the treasury rather than MOD. The MOD has somehow managed to spend £4bn on two failed armored programs that have so far delivered 14 Ares and 10 Warrior LEP vehicles. So the problem wasn’t lack of money as they managed to pi$$ huge amounts of it away. Boxer or Piranha 5 would have been delivered by now if only the Army would stop changing requirements and priorities. The CTA cannon was fully tested and signed off on over a decade ago when the MOD selected it, then the MOD and GDLS let LM… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Appointing Arthur Anderson as a FRES “personal shopper” felt like a low point, but no, the Army managed to get even lower.

There has been no lack of resources, the problem has been the fkwits that have wasted it all.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago

Unfortunately AJAX is to big to fail so where stuck with it. Although I’m sure the vibration issue will be resolved, the Gun seems to be its biggest draw back. Unfortunately I really think it’s time that the Army in particular relies that off the shelf is best. Instead of developing something unique and special for us we should just buy what everyone else is already using.

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

That’s the counsel of despair. France, Italy as well as Germany continue to make a wide range of land systems, from small arms to MBTs. Until 20 years or so ago, we could do the same. As a country that runs a chronic trade deficit, we can’t afford to rely on imports of vital equipment. The obsession of both Con and New Lab with privatising and reliance on market forces meant state owned or supported industries elsewhere continued while ours were shut down. The Defence Industrial Strategy targets a revival in UK sourcing so even our less than wonderful leaders… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Unfortunately British land industry relied to much on British military procurement and government export lobbying for success. Where as other companies aggressively pursued their own foreign sales. Britian lost the capability to produce AFV when Challenger 2 failed to gain export success. Unfortunately now we don’t have the expertise to develop afv in a heavily contested and over saturated market. As good as it would be to have our own successful and prosperous AFV industry. However, that would be of no use if we can only deploy 1 or 2 battle groups because we simply don’t have enough equipment. Also… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

It does seem that France, Germany and Italy share the UK problem of having limited numbers in operating condition. You are partly right that Ch2 failure in the export market was a serious blow. But Italy have not exported many AfVs and yet keep a manufacturing base going. How? Are they subsidised to keep capabilities? We have retained capacity in lighter military vehicles. The Jackal family seems to work fine. The army did look at another Supacat product when evaluating LIMAWS which also included a UK designed and built M777 howitzer. Regenerating the ability to design and build more of… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

The Italians actually build and export more then people think. However, their defence industry is indeed heavily subsidized. A prime example of this issue is Japan and their type 10 tanks. To keep production lines open the Japanese government have had to artificially reduce the production rate to 2 tanks a year, given each one a price tag of a million dollars. Are lighter vehicles, such as Jackal, where built from pre existing skills in heavy civilian vehicles. Essentially if you can build a truck you can fairly easily build a foxhound. Plus supercat was a private company that gained… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Harry, I’ve done a bit of checking. Fincantieri is owned by the Italian government which also own>30% of Leonardo. So like Nexter in France, these companies will be funded through lean times, something our private sector companies can’t afford, unless like BAE they get a work guarantee. You are right about the relative ease of designing and building lighter platforms. But apart from Germany, nobody in Western Europe has built new MBTs for about 20 years. Looking at the shambles of Warrior and the delays and problems of Ajax, it might be cheaper in the long run to adopt a… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

CR2 did not gain mass export success for 3 reasons – timing, unit cost, and security. I don’t see however that this issue meant that we couldn’t sell other AFVs.

DJ
DJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

The biggest problem with the CTA 40mm is the cost of ammo. If you can’t afford the ammo, you should not be using it. If a real war breaks out, ammo will be a priority & tons of it. The biggest worry of most armoured units around the world is running out of fuel. In the UK case, more likely running out of ammo. An armoured vehicle out of fuel is a metal pillbox. An armoured vehicle out of ammo is what?

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Add to that replacing the barrel every 700 rounds lol

Peter S
Peter S
4 months ago
Reply to  DJ

Both GD and LM have blamed the CTA for delays and problems in evidence to the defence select committee. Even if only partly true, it is beginning to look like a poor decision, especially in light of the ammunition cost and barrel life. It would have been much less risky to refit Warrior with one of several stabilised 30 mm cannon available.
Ajax.problems seem wider than this. To have vibration and noise issues 10 years into the programme is alarming.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

The sale of goods act in the UK requires goods to be of satisfactory quality or you are entitled to a refund, I think they should apply this law to the project !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

You are right Harry. AJAX is too big!

Johan
Johan
5 months ago

OK Will give you a little insight into UKGOvs Procurement and there agendas. Its Public Money and and must be protected usually means that all bidders are on an approved tender list. But its a paperwork exercise, if the tender hits all the marking points it can be submitted for the contract. if it fails it gets dropped but it might be the best bid. Firms will ensure they hit all the markers in the contract @ a stupid price. Knowing fall well that IT won’t WORK, CANNOT BE DELIVERED. unless Extra Work is approved and developed, which is why… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Major Tom would not spend 5 years in his procurement post. It would be 2 years, standard ,length of a posting. Some more senior officers might do longer in their slot.

John N
John N
5 months ago

A new video released by Hanwha Defence Australia featuring the AS21 Redback IFV:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u6rl6p2KBmE

Cheers,

John C
John C
4 months ago

I think most of the Ajax IFV’s problems could be solved with Sourcy Rubber tracks and hydro pneumatic suspension system replacing the torsion bar variant. This I believe is the best start of a solution. both rubber tracks and hydro suspension are great reducers of noise vibrations and weight, plus this form of suspension would free up room taken by the torsion bars.

peter wait
peter wait
4 months ago
Reply to  John C

If the hull is made up of largely flat sections you have created a loud speaker, the vibration reduction of Sourcy tracks is impressive and they go up 40t.

MARK MEREDITH
MARK MEREDITH
4 months ago

Can anybody tell me what the Army plans are for armored vehicles?
Would not it be better to keep Warrior over Bulldog since Bulldog is so old? Less turret upgrade of course.
Is Bulldog going out of service also?
Is it Boxer and Ajax for the future?
What about the various PPV? They were all to be sold? But then some got new axles and went to Mali?
Very confusing?

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Even The Times Defence Editor calls them ‘tanks’ – I despair.

I am puzzled – surely GD UK built prototypes which went through Troop Trials a long time ago (where such issues would have been identified and rectified during Production), as what is happening right now are surely Final Acceptance Tests which seek to spot minor snags during production. Or have I missed something?

Wikipedia reports the following: “At the DVD exhibition in 2014, the first pre-production prototype of the PMRS variant (ie Ares) was unveiled” so did prototype testing/Troop Trials happen in 2014/15?? 

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Dunno. I’m puzzled too. Car designers are expert at vibration analysis. Who wants to buy a car that shakes you to pieces? It just looks as though an entire step in design and modelling was omitted. There is obviously some kind of unpredicted resonance going on. It might be hard to fix.
As regards the ‘tank’ reference I don’t think its as daft as it sounds. I read somewhere the CT40mm ammunition is capable of penetrating the armour of quite a lot of legacy battle tanks.

Stephen Ng
Stephen Ng
4 months ago

unbelievable that they cant even make a tank properly. I could do a better job

John C
John C
3 months ago

I think the increased weight and problems described on Ajax could be fixed in a similar way to cv90 or as21 Redback.ifv by changing torsion bars to hydro pneumatic suspension or at least beef up the torsion bar suspension, Use newer rubber/composite tracks like soucy. This would reduce noise and vibration up to 50%. If turret is an issue get an elbit, Bae or Reinmetall turret. I hope the Redback wins land 400.