The Ajax programme, which began in 2010, is intended to transform the Army’s surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

However, it has gone badly wrong, with no deployable vehicle delivered to date let alone providing Initial Operating Capability or Full Operating Capability dates, say the Public Accounts Committee in a report released today.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said that the government “must fix or fail this programme, before more risk to our national security and more billions of taxpayers’ money wasted”, adding “these repeated failures are putting strain on older capabilities which are overdue for replacement and are directly threatening the safety of our service people and their ability to protect the nation and meet Nato commitments”.

The report states that the Department (the Ministry of Defence) has a £5.5 billion firm-price contract with General Dynamics Land Systems UK for the design, manufacture and initial in-service support of 589 Ajax armoured vehicles.

“The Department initially expected to bring Ajax into service in 2017 but subsequently missed a revised target of June 2021. By December 2021, the Department had paid General Dynamics £3.2 billion but received only 26 Ajax vehicles, none of which it can use. The programme remains in turmoil because the Department still does not know whether the noise and vibration problems—which since July 2020 it has known may have injured soldiers—are fixable. It does not expect to determine this until late 2022. The Department is not willing to set a new target for initial operating capability before the noise and vibration problems are resolved and it does not know when it will be able to introduce the full capability into service. There remains considerable uncertainty over how to resolve these safety issues and the programme is slipping further behind schedule as the Department and General Dynamics seek to agree a way forward. The slow progress and continued delays create significant risks to value for money, put at risk the Army’s plans for transformation and mean soldiers will have to use existing outdated vehicles for longer.

The Department’s management of the programme was flawed from the outset as the programme was over-specified and the Department and General Dynamics did not understand the scale of the technical challenge. We have seen similar failings again and again in the Department’s management of its equipment programmes. The Ajax programme also raises serious concerns about the Department’s processes and culture for testing whether new equipment is safe to use.

The Department needs to learn the lessons from the Ajax programme to ensure the litany of failures is never repeated and that our service personnel receive the equipment they need for operations and the nation’s defence. As a matter of the upmost urgency, the Department must establish whether noise and vibration issues can be addressed by modifications or whether they require a fundamental redesign of the vehicle. If the latter, the Department must decide whether the right course is to proceed with General Dynamics or if it should opt for an alternative. We expect an update on this when we next take evidence and a definitive decision, either one way or the other, by December 2022. After twelve years, enough is enough.”

The report also adds:

“As this Committee highlighted in its recent report on the MoD Equipment Plan 2021–31, the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine only reinforces the urgent need for the Department to reform, prioritise and effectively manage its expenditure to ensure the Armed Forces can secure all the equipment that they need in the quickest possible time.

The Department’s original in-service date, 2017, was revised to June 2021, which has also been missed. It will not set a new initial operating capability date until it has resolved the on-going noise and vibration problems, and has no confidence in achieving the full operating capability target of April 2025. Therefore, 12 years after letting the design contract, the Department has no realistic target dates for introducing the Ajax capability. We are also extremely concerned that the Department may accept compromises on the level of capability that will be achieved at these milestones.

Further, the Department is encountering difficulties on the enabling programmes needed to deliver the intended capability improvements and allow the Army to deploy Ajax on operations. In particular, delays to the Morpheus programme mean it will take longer before Ajax has the enhanced digital and communication systems which are so important to the way in which the Army plans to use the vehicles. The Department is seeking to develop a longer-term relationship with industry to enable upgrades throughout Ajax’s service life to keep pace with technological developments and future military threats.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Pacman27
Pacman27
17 days ago

Time for us to move to the CV90 or a larger boxer force. whatever we do we must agree a proposer force structure and build around that and not historical cap badges etc… which will need to fit in. I believe the engines are the same as used on boxer so transfer them across to that program as well as the CTA40’s. write Off the remaining contract and try to recover what we can (probably nothing) it’s a real pity as this could have been great, but how can a vehicle program be 12 years late.. it’s not that difficult.… Read more »

DRS
DRS
17 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Whenever we run these programs we should always have two contenders. Bring X percent/vehicles to IOC and at that stage we select which is better, with penalty clauses still part of the contract for full operating capability to keep the winner honest. Yes there is a bit of regret spend but overall will encourage better quality. For the vehicles/ planes/ boats that do not make it we can sell them off to someone else (they be brand new) or keep in reserve. More expensive in the short term but likely to save massively long term. Competition is the only thing… Read more »

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
16 days ago
Reply to  DRS

With thinking like this you have no career in U.K. defence procurement a head of you. You are of course, completely right.

Jack
Jack
16 days ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

As the US does with it’s fighter jet programmes, i could not agree more.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  DRS

I was involved in assessing the bids for the replacement for the Cent BARV and I recall we had at least 7 or 8 contenders. We ended up with unquestionably the best option, a Leopard 1 variant. CR3 (originally called CR2 LEP) had a number of contenders that were down-selected to 2 (one proposal from BAE and one from Rheinmetall) – both companies were given MoD money and about 2 years to refine their proposals. We ended up with a blend of both of the best ideas and a JV company (a fusion of both companies) to build the tank.… Read more »

johan
johan
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Bungs @ procurement and Civil service level, is very rare as its a sealed box compliancy system.

but smozzing the General Army or service staff is very common, be it on smaller scales, you the case of whiskey, the Holiday villa/boat for a month, or the wife’s car.

is very common

DMJ
DMJ
15 days ago
Reply to  johan

All of which would need to be declared in any large organisation

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  johan

Johan, what is your background? No-one offered me any of these very ‘bargain basement’ inducements when I was at Abbey Wood.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I hope both time and numbers will be fixed asap. A clear lesson from Ukraine is we need more armour not less. However I expect the bean counter will look at the massive number of disabled Russian tanks and their vulnerability to NLAW, Javelin etc and claim the tank is done. When in reality the huge number of tanks destroyed were down to poor deployment without supporting troops.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

A bean counter might have looked at the Falklands war and concluded that surface ships had had their day!

Nothing in the battle space is invulnerable. You are right that the Russians lost tanks mainly down to poor deployment.

SD67
SD67
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

https://www.linkedin.com/in/carew-wilks-83899914/?originalSubdomain=uk

Vice President GDUK. Former Director of Land Programs at the MOD. Conflict of interest maybe?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  SD67

I am aware of this and met Carew Wilks a few time when I was serving. The MoD rules are very clear and very strict. There is a process that ensures a retiring officer cannot undertake a civilian job touching his previous field for at least 2 years. Wilks finished his army service in Oct 2013, worked for NIMR Automotive for 4 years, then was an advisor to BAE for 1 year and only went into the GDLS job in August 2018, nearly 5 years after being Director Land Equipment. So not a conflict of interest at all. He has… Read more »

johan
johan
16 days ago
Reply to  DRS

Part of the Program was to deliver a prototype concept at contract award stage, and AJAX won over CV90 and others.
then the Army wanted to make their can opener into a swiss army knife that could fly. just because so brass head got a case of scotch.

Bill Lilley
Bill Lilley
16 days ago
Reply to  DRS

Yes,long term savings!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Ajax is of course a recce vehicle replacing Scimitar, so I presume you are talking about the recce variants of CV90 or Boxer. Force structures (I was once a Structures staff officer) are never built around preserving historic cap badges and I saw little evidence when I was serving (1975-2009) of successful attempts to preserve historical cap badges and little evidence since, although some consider the creation of the small Ranger battalions to be an attempt at this. I am not sure the Treasury or politicians will be so keen to accept the loss of £3.2bn – which rather accounts… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

understood, and from my perspective we would be better off with the French Jaguar and putting the spare money into a new IFV with a decent cannon (CV90).

Whether we need that volume of recce vehicles should also be up for debate, as for losing £3.2bn. It’s a massive loss but at some point you have to call these things and move on I am afraid.. Ajax is the Army’s Nimrod….

johan
johan
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

agree on the Nimrod MRA4 and who was the contractor on that program.

if Ajax was delivered on time it may have been ok, but the desire on the Platform and the loss of Warrior, has changed the background on these types

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  johan

I specialise in program turnarounds for a living and in 99% of cases failure is almost certainly due to poor sponsor behaviours and direction. I do think we need to ease of BAES as they are not a charity and for all we know they are doing everything right. Looking at Warrior this was indeed the case. Too much political interference and not enough support from government (its more than Money – commitment is key) also play a part. i would say that the Uk should look at our Scandinavian cousins as we spend more per annum (even removing subs)… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

BAES is not the Prime for Ajax – GDUK is.

Most of our procurement programmes go very well. It is just a relatively few that do not – and it is the expensive ones that get the Press attention.

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

But it was for nimrod and I was replying to johan

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

The Ajax programme was about far more than replacing Scimitar. It was about replacing all CVR(T)s and the programme was originally meant to be for the supply of 1,010 vehicles – reduced by a parsimonious Treasury to 589 vehicles, so barely more than a half of what was required. So 589 vehicles is not a huge volume. The French Jaguar is a weird looking 6-wheel vehicle and is very cheap and has some reasonable armour and survivability features, fair speed etc, but I have not heard of sophisticated sensor and comms packages. I am sceptical about Ajax being continued to… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

CV90 is tracked.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

David, Yes, I know that. Did I say it was wheeled?

DJ
DJ
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You implied it with your reference to other nations using wheeled CRV’s & then referred to Norway with CV90 & Australia with Boxer. Most on here know it was just unintentional poor wording.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  DJ

OK, thanks.
B- for me then.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Apologies Graham I did not answer your last 2 points. Ajax is too big for a purely recce platform imo, better smaller solutions are available, what I am alluding to given the size of our force is that we have Smaller IFVs that can hold 4 dismounts and that these assets merge into one capability. All variants should have a CTA 40 on them unless there is a crane or similar in the way. at this point in time I am ambivalent to tracks or wheels, what I would say is that for me we still don’t have a modular… Read more »

Dern
Dern
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Ajax is too big for a Recce platform? Where does this come from? Let’s look at this objectively shall we.
Here are the phyical dimensions for Ajax:

Ajax dimensions: 7mx3mx3m

And here are the phyiscal dimensions for other (succesfull) Recce tanks in serivce with other Western Armies:

🇺🇸Bradley M3 dimesnsions: 6.5mx3mx3m
🇸🇪CV90: 6.5x3mx3m
🇪🇦ASCOD Recce: 6.5x3mx2m
🇲🇫Jaguar: 7mx3mx3m
🇦🇺Boxer 8mx3mx2m (+Turret)

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Fair does Dern. I stand corrected.

Dern
Dern
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

No worries, I honestly do wonder where this comes from because I hear it so often, and at first I believed it when someone said it to me, until I did the actual maths and compared like for like.

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Boxer is even bigger. Hull height is 2.4m

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Hi Pacman, Thanks for the reply. I see that some have criticised your point about Ajax being too large for a recce vehicle, referencing other nations who have opted for a large recce vehicle. I think the Americans started the trend with the M3 Bradley CFV; they have long had a philosophy of ‘recce by fighting’ whereas we Brits have done ‘recce by stealth’ which requires a low-signature recce vehicle ie one with a small frontal area for reduced visual signature. If a recce vehicle is long but has a small frontal area, that would be OK. Additionally Ajax was… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham. thanks for response, couple of points to clarify on my part. I am definitely advocating an IFV atthe fire team level as with infantry accounting for 19k (max) of the current force I am looking at ways to maximise their lethality and having a Smaller IFV with CTA 40 (and an APS) will provide section fire and anti UAV capability. I have even thought of the usefulness of the weisel 2 with a trailer for 4 that it releases upon contact so it can provide flanking or covering fire as the dismounts offload and make contact. I also… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Many thanks for the reply. Of course relatively few of our 19,000 Infantrymen are customarily mounted in an IFV – We only have 4 Warrior Battalions (armoured infantry) – thats just 2,928 soldiers. We also have 4 Bns of Mech Inf in wheeled Protected Mobility vehicles. I have no great view on an IFV for a 4-man fire team rather than for a section except that you would have to increase manpower to allow for a non-dismounting crew (driver and gunner) of a second vehicle. As Wiesel 2 is not an IFV, are you advocating one or more of them… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham. Will try to cover the main points here A section will be 8 people spread across 2 vehicles that provide suppressing fire, logic is that the vehicles do the heavy lifting of stores, and fires in a smaller army. A platoon will have 16 dismounts + 12 drivers and a company 168, 196 or 252 personnel. I do think there is some merit in looking at smaller vehicles that are connected for the road trip and then disconnect on contact to allow more options (but accept this may be a rubbish idea) The division size is 4 Manoeuvre… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Pacman27
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Radical thinking on your part.
If the army is struggling to do its stuff with 82,000 – it will be even worse when it is 73,000.

Pacman27
Pacman27
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Maybe, but it seems to me a USMC MEU is about the size of ‘big unit’ we can deploy and keep the full spectrum of capability, and maintain some form of harmonisation balance. the UK is good at logistics and the MOD has 60k civilians now working for it.. so the boundaries between some capabilities are already blurred. I would go further and if we go tanks put that capability into the reserves as a) lots of training can be done in local simulators, b) kinetic training can be condensed into the relevant envelopes, c) it takes an age to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I think that the army is very deployable, however it is alarming to hear that some HETs have been auctioned off. People make too much of ‘the difficulty’ in deploying heavy and medium armour. We first deployed tanks overseas in 1916 – we are quite used to doing it – we are used to putting tanks onto ferries and rail flats and HETs. Are you saying that tanks should go to the Reserve Army? That is a non-starter. We have a Reserve Army armoured regiment who provide BCRs to the 3 regular tank regiments. Thats as far as we need… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

It is more than 30 years late, as this is the son of the future rapid effect system (FRES) program. FRES was a money pit, but the head of the program did alright. My next door neighbor was part of the Army team developing FRES. He ended up leaving the Army seriously pissed of with the whole affair. It was a comedy of errors. Where every two years the “committee” decided it needed revisiting with a change in direction. There were plenty of promising designs ranging from a direct CVR(T) replacement to something similar to Ajax. If only someone had… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
15 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Yes we have to bin Ajax.. and buy CV90. This money wasting farce must be ended.

Pacman27
Pacman27
13 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

I think we need to take a moment here and decide if cv90, or kf41 lynx can meet all our requirements. KF can go to 50t weight and has a 120mm gun (would the XM360 be even lighter / better). the Next question is can we build both tracked and wheeled versions of these or do we split between boxer for medium wheels, and one of these for our tracked armour. Given APS/ADS is it better to have a lighter medium vehicle with this than a heavier vehicle. lastly, are tracks a good idea given they got bogged down in… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
13 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

What ever we get it should not be Ajax. It is a flawed platform. We need something off the shelf that we can put quickly into service. We should also commit to protecting all our tanks and AFV/IFV with active protection systems – an obvious leaning point from the Ukraine conflict.

Sean
Sean
17 days ago

Does the MoD have a Plan B in case Ajax is unfixable within a reasonable time period? Has it identified possible alternatives and how long would it take and cost to add essential British Army requirements and then begin manufacturing? How confident is the MoD of getting General Dynamics to return the £3.5 billion paid thus far? How long would the undoubted legal battle take? Sounds like a continue/scrap decision will be made this year, but they needs plans in place for both outcomes. If they scrap then they may have to reconsider the Warrior sustainment/ upgrade programme to provide… Read more »

Steve
Steve
17 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I would put money on plan B being to scrap the project and go home, with a vague statement about the capability being fulfilled by a future Boxer variant.

I suspect if there was any chance that they would realistically scrap it, they would have already done so, just a question now how long it takes to get them into service and how compromised are they when they do enter.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Now that Scimitar has clocked up 50 years in service, I would hope for more than a vague promise of a Boxer recce variant if Ajax cannot be fixed.

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I believe Latvia are making good use of the CVR(T) we recently gave them in 2014. I think they had a basic overhaul before being sent over.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  Sean

It raises interesting questions, apparently the government have said, not a penny more until the problems are fixed. If we walk away, I would assume we walk away from £3.5 billion too? Perhaps resurrection of WSP would be a sensible idea, mixed with the Boxer variant with the full 30mm hunter killer box of tricks, like the Baltic States have ordered… We have to be very cautious about CV90, it would be ” can we make it three foot longer and can we make it fly”? Another 10 years and another £3.5 billion! If we go CV90, make it off… Read more »

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s anyone’s guess what would happen to the £3.5b, my guess as its a US company and policitical pressure will be put to bear if we try and walk away, and that the £3.5b won’t be recoverable, even if it is possible to do so.

Who know if it is legally recoverable or not, i haven’t seen the contract and not a procurement lawyer anyway.

Stc
Stc
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Plus the manufacturer is a big player. You cannot afford to be gun no with these big companies as you need their full cooperation on other things in the future. Unfortunately Harrods do not stock small tanks if they did…

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
16 days ago
Reply to  Stc

Or Heineken?

DJ
DJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Give them all to Ukraine. Not likely to last long enough for the effects of vibration & noise to be a factor.

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  DJ

That would be one way to battle test them and see if they are actually combat effective in 2022

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

It shares a name with a big player that’s about it

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

This is all about and only about recce. If Ajax cannot be fixed we need an alternative recce vehicle, not an IFV.

CV90 Recce and Boxer CRV are possibilities but there are others, however we do not need an amphib recce vehicle for the British Army.

Agree it must be a developed product (with just minimal UK kit such as Bowman radios installed) – Scimitar is already 50 years old!

Deep32
Deep32
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Another interesting angle argued by others before me, now with the imminent demise of our Warrior fleet (going over to Boxers), where would/does such a heavy Recce asset like Ajax fit in? A different perspective might be to ask, do we now need Ajax given that we soon won’t have any heavy tracked infantry – Boxer isn’t as capable as a tracked IFV. So, is it perhaps better to cut our losses and go down an all Wheeled force supporting C3?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

The demise of the Infantry’s Warrior fleet and its replacement by Boxer does not mean Ajax loses its raison d’etre – why would it? We still need armoured recce. We did not specify Ajax to be a heavy tracked vehicle solely because we had Infantry riding in tracked vehicles. Recce (even an infantry battalion’s close recce, let alone medium or fomamation recce) operates far ahead (and not with) of Infantry companies and platoons. You are right that Boxer is not as capable as a tracked IFV, which makes me wonder why WCSP was cancelled and we are now buying extra… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, it’s not really my area, so just really mulling the options WRT Ajax. Was Ajax not designed to be the Recce vehicle for our Amd Inf Bde? Since we no longer have them – now Mech Inf with Boxer, do we actually need Ajax itself? Totally agree we still need Recce vehicles, but as others have argued, would it not be better to align all and go with a wheeled version as opposed to tracked? If we were to still have tracked IFV making ‘heavy Bde’ then yes see the need to keep it, don’t believe the French… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep, Ajax was supposed to be fielded in 2017. The Ajax recce vehicle would replace Scimitars in the formation recce regiments in 3 (UK) Div – being as that comprised three AI Bdes, that should be three armoured recce regiments with Ajax. Then you have the Ajax’s in the AI Battalion’s recce platoons and finally you have the Ajax’s in the recce troop in the tank regiments. With Warrior ‘withering on the vine’ then being replaced by an additional purchase of Boxer, things have changed. Such Boxers might not have a cannon so a Boxer Inf platoon may have… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, thx for the reply. The army have certainly got themselves into a mighty mess!! Personally, if we aren’t going with tracked AI, then don’t think we need Ajax and it’s variants, they are looking out of place/out on a limb with Boxer. Believe we should go with a wheeled Recce variant instead, along with all the tracked versions. I never really understood why we were going to upgrade a 35 yo IFV as opposed to buying a new one, especially as Warrior had served us well and put in some hard miles? Seems barking to me. Have to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep, you seem to think that we specified Ajax as a tracked vehicle purely because the Armoured Infantry had a tracked IFV. Not so. An armoured recce vehicle is either Close Recce (ie at the vanguard of a manouevre unit such as an AI Bn or armoured regt) or it is Medium Recce (also called Formation Recce). Leaving aside the 344 non-turreted Ajax variants we have ordered 245 turreted ‘Ajax’ variants: 198 Reconnaissance and Strike (Ajax) 23 Joint Fire Control (Ajax) 24 Ground Based Surveillance (Ajax) Of those 198 Recce/Strike, only 32 are with the four AI Bns in… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, apologies for late reply, spent last night watching the football, rather wish I hadn’t bothered now, as that’s an evening of my life I won’t get back!!! Sorry, it’s probably my bad wording WRT Ajax. I know we didn’t specify Ajax as tracked just because we have tracked IFVs with our AI, but as a replacement for Scimitar predominantly within our AI BDS. But then of course the whole ‘Strike’ saga raised its head and things really went astray. Still not overly convinced Ajax is what’s needed if we are ditching tracked AI, but as you say, we… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep, Most Ajax are in formation recce regiments that operate way forward of the Infantry – so there is no linkage between what vehicles the infantry need and what the RAC need. The army has always had a mix of capability from heavy to light ie a range of vehicle types to deal with different terrain and different threat types – Infantry currently has the choice of Warrior or a variety of wheeled armoured vehicles or soft-skinned vehicles – for troop carriage. Recce can be done with Scimitar (armoured, tracked) or Foxhound (armoured, wheeled) or LandRover (soft-skinned). Ajax is… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Cheers Graham, always good to get a different perspective.
Will be v interesting to see how the Army extricated from this mess! Just hope they get something that can do the job required, and enough of them.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Thanks Deep, I served in REME as an officer 1975-2009, then worked in Defence procurement followed by Defence Industry. I have never known the army in such a mess, equipment-wise, especially AFVs. It cannot be sorted quickly. I despair that CGS is not gripping this as a senior influencer (he does not make procurment decisions) – I knew General Mark when he was a brigadier commanding 16 AA Bde – in fact he wrote my annual report at Part 2 one year. With his light-role Infantry and SAS background, and minimal and distant time with armour (he did Gulf War… Read more »

Steve
Steve
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Do we not need an amphib recce vehicle? I would have thought the lessons of the Ukraine war would indicate crossing water ways is essential and that you can’t rely on building bridges.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Steve

In the past we have had vehs with some measure of amphibiosity – HMLC Stalwart, FV430 & Ferret Scout Car (it required quite a bit of prep with erecting a flotation screen).

But I struggle to think of a modern recce vehicle with amphib capability.

It would have an occasional use, I suppose. But erecting a flotation screen is time-consuming and you usually cannot fire any weapons with it up.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

i think the opportunity is to cancel boxer, Ajax and CR3 and go all in on KF41, which seems to hit the size, weight, protection and future proof sweet spot.

given it is rheinmetal we should be able to negotiate a mega contract for 2k vehicles to replace all our medium/ heavy at all once ( well over 10 years +)

most f the parts from the above programs are reusable and we soldier on with warrior until we can get the first nits out the door.

1 hull for everything medium/ heavy is a tempting proposition.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

There has got to be a Plan B (and a Plan C, probably). But it may not be quick, simple and cheap. GD will not return the whole of the £3.5bn. They have been paid for work done according to a contract. MoD can make a case for Liquidated Damages but does not have a track record in so dlong. The WR upgrade programme was of course to regenerate the IFV fleet and had nothing to do with the armoured recce fleet. This WCSP programme could be resurrected but a conversion to the recce role would have to be added… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think the warrior upgrade program wasn’t just cancelled because of cost. It had lots of its own issues and may well of turned into Ajax part 2. Warrior was built in separate batches that all have variations etc. A bit like nimrod mr4. You make turrets for them to find they don’t fit as vehicles are all different sizes with numerous fixes applied over there 40 year lifetime to individual vehicles at different times. Warrior is old. Sometimes new build is better. You go to a supplier and say I want it to this and that and they work… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I have not found a reason why Warrior upgrade programme was cancelled. But politicos described the project as running over three years late and £227 million over budget, which must have annoyed them. ATDU clocked up at least 95 successful battlefield days and said this put it in the top 20% of programmes for reliability. I have not heard the story about new turrets not fitting the legacy hulls – sounds unbelievable as new turret rings would be fitted anyway. In cancelling WCSP, the Government has written off £430m of public money and got nothing to show for it. They… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
17 days ago

Meg Hillier’s words are justifiably very strong – national security is indeed potentially threatened. £3.2bn spent and just 26 vehicles delivered, as I understand it, solely to be used for training. Five years late. As a past professional engineer I find it incredible that it will not be until late 2022 whether we will know whether the problems are fixable, when they were first identified several years ago. Then, if there is a fix possible, how long will it take to implement? This has to be the worst land equipment programme ever. Heads really do need to roll. The problems… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I agree that it was destined to fail.

To many ‘bits’ on one platform.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago

Many more reasons that that, SB, for this collossal fail.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It has previously been published that the 26 vehicles have faults and are not perpendicular (where they need to be) which is a major problem for something that needs to be rugged and strong.

geoff
geoff
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Good Morning Graham. In simple contractual rules that more or less apply universally, there is an offer to purchase goods or services and acceptance by the supplier. Top of page one are terms of delivery especially time frame and ‘fit for pupose’. How can this debacle happen in Top Ten UK?? And why should GD be allowed to get away with anything in this instance just because they are a big influential American company?The only conclusion one must reach after a simple rational assessment of this whole affair is that it is OK to pay out 3,5 BILLION pounds, wait… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Good afternoon Geoff, As a PM at Abbey Wood my project had staged payments. The Prime submitted request for payment at a milestone point, the DE&S commercial staff asked the PM if the requirement for that stage had been met, an internal meeting was convened, and if requirement had been met, payment was made. So if a payment was to be made on succesfully completing, for example, the Preliminary Design Review (PDR), a PDR meeting was called and the company would present, all the deliverables were scrutinised for presence and completeness and freedom from obvious errors or anomalies. At that… Read more »

geoff
geoff
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham. Many thanks for that. The system in the building industry here in SA is similar. Progress payments are adjudicated by the Quantity Surveyor and either signed off or adjusted by him on a monthly basis. Towards the end of the project a draft final account is prepared and the Architect will snag the building. If there are snags or subsequent serious problems that the contractor cannot fix then provisions in the contract allow for, inter alia, client to call in another contractor to rectify and claim the cost of same from the contractor at fault and indeed claim… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Thanks Geoff. I can understand the ire that causes some to say that GDUK must pay back £3.2bn to MoD, but they have done work in stages that has been signed off by PM and Commercial staff at DE&S – the best lawyer that MoD could hire would not get back money that MoD agreed to pay for work done to an agreed standard.
Different story for any vehicles rejected by MoD as unsatisfactory.

Sean
Sean
17 days ago

Off-topic, how many of the UK’s M270 MLRS does Ukraine need to make a significant difference? According to Wiki we have a total of 42.

I’d be happy to see them all sent, as they’re based on Bradley’s and the last was manufactured nearly 20 years ago. But we would need a commitment to replace them with M142 HIMARS, or an equivalent, on a like for like basis.

Last edited 17 days ago by Sean
Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
17 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Is anything we donate to the Ukraine going to be replaced ? ……I very much doubt it. The MOD seem more interested in cutting costs and cares less about atrophying of capabilities.

Sean
Sean
16 days ago

An extra £3bn from the Treasury has already been allocated, in part, to replace items donated to Ukraine.

Try to keep up and not let your pessimism overwhelm your view of life.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Well excuse me for daring to voice an opinion on a public forum….you could have left that last sentence out, its patronising and unnecessary.

Sean
Sean
16 days ago

It’s not as patronising as your opinion of the MoD. Try sticking to facts rather than doom and gloom and you might have a more pleasant experience of life.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Why don’t you try sticking to the discussion instead of trying to troll my posts ? Do get a kick out of being judgemental and condescending?

Sean
Sean
16 days ago

Why don’t you try sticking to the facts of the debate rather than impersonating Victor Meldrew? 🤷🏻‍♂️

David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Reference, linky?

Sean
Sean
16 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

There’s a few news sources mentioning it, first saw it on CNN but this is the best report I’ve yet seen
https://www.politico.com/amp/news/2022/06/01/u-k-seeks-u-s-approval-to-send-rocket-system-to-ukraine-00036328

David Barry
David Barry
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Thxs Sean.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

A US MLRS battery is 9 launchers; not sure how many in a British battery. I would have thought we should offer at least 2 batterys worth.

Surely M142 HIMARS is not a true replacement for the RA? Can it fire ATACMs?

Sean
Sean
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes the M142 HIMARS can fire the MGM-140 ATACMS

Ian M
Ian M
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, the whole family of munitions

Zach
Zach
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

You know that M142 HIMARS is almost 30 years old. Plus it’s only able to carry one pod rather than the standard two for the M270, so that’s a 50% reduction in rockets.

Sean
Sean
16 days ago
Reply to  Zach

I also know it’s still in production, there isn’t a replacement in production, and it only has one pod and wheels rather than tracks for better shoot and scoot survivability. Doesn’t matter if you have pods if you get destroyed before you can fire the extra rockets.

Mark
Mark
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Errrr apparently when splashing $224 million having them upgraded from cabs to engine and fire control systems it was reported earlier this week. So if we send some over that will save us a few quid as less to upgrade.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
16 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Knowing the mod it probably been paid already with a massive penalty clause 🙈

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

The BA was going to update 44x M270’s with a number of enhancements and support the new GMLRS-ER and PrSM missiles, around mid-decade, per link below. I presume some of those enhancements, such as the new fire control system, would be transferable to HIMARS, if we are looking to expand our artillery capability with wheeled platforms for both tubes and rockets. It might make sense to pivot to wheels for our rocket artillery, depending on how many M270 systems we donate. Hard to argue that these M270 systems, primarily for use against a peer such as Russia, wouldn’t be of… Read more »

Sean
Sean
16 days ago

They definitely of more use in Ukraine defending a fellow European democracy from a aggressive autocracy. If Ukraine wins we might never need to worry about having to fight this said autocracy ourselves.

Bulkhead
Bulkhead
17 days ago

Sorry, I’ve no faith in the powers that be, nothing will be done because they’ll be all doing there best to save face.

Aethelstanthecurious
Aethelstanthecurious
17 days ago

I read on the BBC REPORT that an army spokesman said that he, “was cautiously optimistic the vehicle would enter service by 2030.” Having followed the discussions here and in the light of the Ukraine, our NATO commitment and promises the Finland and Sweden I am lost for words, except,
“Baldrick do you have a cunning plan perhaps from the Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?”

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago

2030! Scimitar will be 60 years old then. That would be like the navy still having Batch 3 Leander class frigates in service in 2030.

That is not good enough.

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago

”Cautiously optimistic”. Good spot. In another place I read that the MPs are not optimistic that Ajax faults can be corrected ‘within the terms of the existing contract’. Putting these together I interpret them to mean we can get Ajax good enough if the MOD is prepared to spend more money. It’s haggling time.

Max Bridges
Max Bridges
17 days ago

What idiots decided this was better than the cv90 that was already proven and would have provided better interoperability with allies

eclipse
eclipse
17 days ago
Reply to  Max Bridges

The idiots that would have, if the CV90 was to be procured, said that it should be upgraded with underwater and short-range aerial abilities, and the capability to perform long-range strike as well as have armour to withstand an ATM… resulting in a vehicle that would be twice the weight and, god, why not make it two feet taller and three yards longer?

David Steeper
David Steeper
17 days ago

Buy more Boxers. 1 APC/IFV/Recon chassis would save a fortune on training, support and logistics. Of course it’s not ideal for the last 2 roles but the Army is up to it’s neck in excrement and needs to save itself now !! Will anything be learn’t ? Will anyone lose their job ? Yes of course just like with Nimrod and every other procurement disaster ! 😠😠

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Or the KF41/31 mentioned above..

why can’t we have just new hull type with interchangeable wheels or tracks that is the trick that really opens up a single type inventory.

David Steeper
David Steeper
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I have no idea what the engineering on that would be. I need an engineer to thell me if that would be practicable.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
16 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Could the Ajax turrets be transferred to a different vehicle? So at least something can be salvaged.

David Steeper
David Steeper
16 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Not easily I think. The Lithuanians and Aussies have gone down the 30mm route. To the best of my knowledge no one else has ordered a 40mm for Boxer. For simplicities sake I think we’d be better off going with a 30mm gun.

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

CTA has already been put on a boxer and I am also sure the RT60 turret also accomadates (mr Drummond will be able to confirm)

i would think we would be better off with the RT60 as it’s an industry standard

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
16 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I believe the lessons learned are that we can keep repeating this behaviour because no one is ever held accountable, and that lessons do not in fact have to be learned at all. I don’t disagree with the sentiment on Boxers given where we are, but one fact that Ukraine makes very clear, regardless of whether a vehicle is tracked or wheeled, is that it is becoming very easy to find them, with very inexpensive assets. The main advantage of tracks, cross country work, put these vehicles out in open fields, where they are even easier to find, so I… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
16 days ago

Can’t argue with any of that. UAV’s are a game changer and they’re still in there infancy in development terms. Pretty sure every major country and defence company is working on answers to UAV’s. The rewards for the companies that find them will be enormous and deserved. On Boxer we just don’t have time to piss about looking for bespoke we’ve tried that and know where we’ve ended up.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
16 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

We seem to already have the tools for SHORAD/VSHORAD kinetic defence with CT40 air burst rounds and Martlet coupled with appropriate sensors. EW and particularly energy weapons to at least disrupt if not destroy UAS platforms in swarm numbers would seem to be the next step. We aren’t going ahead with JLTV, but the hybrid version with its 115kW exportable power delivery spec serves as an example of how modest hybrid platforms may be part of the answer for UAS air defence with energy weapons. Not to overlook the overall tactical benefits a hybrid power train brings in fuel savings,… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
16 days ago

So you expect 40mm to be used on Boxer or whatever replaces Warrior and Ajax ?

AlexS
AlexS
15 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Not a chance. Australia have big problems with Boxer due to the gun.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

What problems?

AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago

“The ABC can reveal the automatic cannon turrets for Australia’s new “Boxer” combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) are too heavy, and various other headaches with the massive program are emerging.
Other concerns about the Australian Army’s largest project to date include the CRV fleet only being able to fire German-made ammunition and requiring bespoke European-produced tyres.”

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
14 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Alex, that’s a bit of a vague criticism to base your comment “not a chance” on. I also wonder what the critique about the Australian turret being too heavy means, when we’re seeing calibres up to 155mm mounted on the Boxer chassis. For an in service example we have Lithuania that seems to be operating its Wolf IFV variant with stabilised 30mm cannon and Spike-LR ATGM without issues.

Not sure what only having German made ammunition and European tyres for the Australian Boxers has to do with whether CT 40 is a good fit for Boxer?

AlexS
AlexS
12 days ago

Boxer is already an heavy vehicle with big hull height 2.40m.
So there is need to be careful. I doubt something setup for Ajax could work in Boxer.
I agree there is a need for a gun at least for anti drone work.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
15 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The same arguments for why it was pursued for WCSP and Ajax still seem to hold. Namely that it over-matches in range and firepower IFVs that are typically armed with 30mm. Its air defence air burst has a greater spread effect than smaller calibres too. The cased telescoped design means that more rounds can be carried in the same space as a conventional 40mm. So CT40 doesn’t give up number of carried rounds to achieve that firepower, especially as the greater firepower is likely to require lower use of rounds to achieve similar effects. The French don’t seem to have… Read more »

peter Wait
peter Wait
15 days ago

Turret wobble, round cost and short barrel life are issues, would super 40 bushmaster not have been better as proven system ?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
15 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

Turret wobble on which turret? Round cost is often brought up but we don’t know volume manufacturing cost for mass production. It will be more expensive than conventional rounds in mass production, but that’s the trade off for the benefits, which hinge around competition for space in modern armoured vehicles. The 40mm Bofors round is 535mm long versus CT40 at 255mm. That’s the penalty paid with a conventional 40mm round which affects how many can be stored. Then there is also the intrusion of the gun system into the turret, where CT40 is less than the 30mm and significantly less… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
15 days ago

Then that’s the one to go for. Thanks.

Last edited 15 days ago by David Steeper
John Hartley
John Hartley
17 days ago

£3.2 billion divided by 26 Ajax = £123 million each!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
17 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yeh, could have ordered 26 more F35b for the carriers. Damn this program pees me off.

CR

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
17 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

What is peeing me off is that we haven’t bloody cancelled the thing yet.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
16 days ago

Agreed, but I’d also go hunting for the fools who wasted £3,500,000,000 of tax payers money. I would demote every last one… Never happen of course. So the lessons will not be learnt and us tax payers will see more of our money wasted soon enough…

Cheers CR

Marked
Marked
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

They will already have been promoted several times since they signed off on this farce.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

the main one, has constantly been promoted, Gen nick carters fingerprints are all over FRES and Ajax.

Jack
Jack
16 days ago

That would take backbone and logic, qualities the snivelling worms of Whitehall severely lack.

johan
johan
16 days ago

One main issue is and UK Gov has to play the game here, within the industry they know what needs to be carried out to the Ajax hull, the issue is that in order to do the required work, invades space allocated to its internal systems. so they need to redesign the internal kit to fit around the new hull design. G/D are trying to fix around the internal kit, which what is causing the delays, they have to allow G/D scope to fix once they cannot and they admit this its a Full refund on money paid. £3.5b to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  johan

Johan,

Thanks ofr the info about the re-design. Scary stuff!

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/ajax-firm-75m-profit.html?firefox=1

GDLUK made a measly £75m profit – that is beer money!

Paul.P
Paul.P
14 days ago
Reply to  johan

So when you add the extra mass of the C4ISTAR boxes and the turret you hit resonant frequencies?

NickC
NickC
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Or another 3/4 Type 26 frigates, or 12 Type 31, or another batch of Typhoons, or enough off the shelf equivalent AFV’s to fulfill the need to re equip the Army. It rather reminds me of the first buy of Apache, where it had to be assembled by Westland, with a different engine and other equipment, and the overall programme cost was £3bn more than an off the shelf buy. Putting it another way, each of Westland’s 3000 employees could have had a £1m handout and the same number of aircraft would have been delivered.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  NickC

Or 3200 French EBRC jaguar recce vehicles, or 1000 Merkavas with trophy..

the mind boggles – at no point s £10m a good price for a recce vehicle when you can buy full fat tanks for far less.

barking mad. And 12 years too late, so late in fact that they have come back in fashion for the new Cold War…

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Or at least 2 more type 26 frigates. The point is its a absolute shit show. Waste of tax payers money. Some people responsible really should be prosecuted and sent to jail. I know I would if I’d just caused a £3 billion mistake.

Paul T
Paul T
16 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Look at it another way – £5.5billion divided by 589 = just shy of £10 million per vehicle,you could probably get 2 modern MBT’s for that !.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

I’d worked out the per unit price too. Staggeringly expensive. £10 million each. The most expensive MBT in service currently is the South Korean Black Panther. Its unit price is £10 million. I’d rather have 589 of those than any of the Ajax. Call them very heavy recce units if you like. They go recon an area and if they find any enemy can hulk smash them.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

“… you could probably get 2 modern MBT’s for that!” Not based on what Poland seems to have paid for the Abrams M1A2 SEP v3, which IIRC was ~$4.5B for 250 or ~$18M each. (Note: total purchase is circa $6B but includes a lot of extras.) It doesn’t seem like that includes APS though, which might add another ~$2M per tank. As bad as the Ajax project is, it seems Puma may take the biscuit at an estimated cost of €17M across a long and troubled development … and that’s an IFV from KMW and Rheinmetall, who you’d hope would… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
15 days ago

Israel will sell a there latest tanks at $3.5-4.5m each. That’s the price they quote and a price they were offered to Columbia at. Hopefully from puma they learned from mistakes and have put the knowledge into the lynx. If a recce vehicle is started again I hope they go for sensors on a high pole and drone launchers. Even have a heavy and light version. If all vehicles are killed by anti tank weapons is the vehicle really needed to be so armoured. Armoured vehicles are so much more than they used to be. Gone are the days of… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
15 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

That offer of Merkava to Colombia was a decade ago, the Polish buy for Abrams was this April. There’s a decade of military inflation to add to that Merkerva price, although it would certainly be less expensive than Abrams.

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Is that £3.2b just for the Ajax variant or for all the variants?

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

n it’s what has already been handed over… another £2bn still outstanding subject to deliveries etc..

we have bought all the engines ( same as boxer) CTA 40 guns and probably the C4ISTAR gear which is supposedly amazing… so a loft sunken costs, but nothings nothing that can’t be transferred to another hull,

my guess is the MOD would need to walk away from £500-1000m if they pulled the plug now

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Thx. Putting aside the project management issues, the thing I still don’t understand is whether, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that the ASCOD hull was never going to cope with what would be asked of it or whether GD and its acquisitions lacked the skills to do what we wanted.
That is to say, if the project management had been better would we have realised sooner that we had made a mistake with ASCOD?

John Hartley
John Hartley
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Ascod would probably been fine, if we had left it around the 28 ton range & only done minor off the shelf upgrades. Turning into a 42 ton monster with every new shiny digital bit of unproved hype, was & is, a recipe for disaster.

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

So are you are saying the additional weight is a function of the ambitious C4ISTAR (which is the unique advantage of the vehicle), rather than the CTA turret?

John Hartley
John Hartley
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

They took an OK vehicle & shoved everything they could think of into it. I think HM Treasury telling the Army it could have only one new toy, meant the Army (or certain individuals in it) said if we can only have one, then lets gold plate it with extra diamonds.

Paul.P
Paul.P
15 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

That sounds like a plausible account of how it went down. I have experienced similar in the world of education; ongoing spend is less than required and there are periodic big spend projects. When these happen people throw their every wish in knowing they will not see any more money for a long time.
As other posters have pointed out there is a contrast with the way the T31 procurement was handled. It does look as though the RN and the MOD enjoy a better working relationship than do the Army and the MOD.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Most of that £3.2bn is for NRE – Non-Recurring Costs – such as buying and setting up factory, design, development, prototyping, trials etc.
It should be for the entire programme ie all variants.

Paul.P
Paul.P
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thx. So if we switch horses now some of that would need to be spent again for, say.. CV90; Lynx; Boxer ….alternatives.
Per PM’s post I’m guessing the only non negotiable requirements are the C4ISTAR gear and the tracks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Ajax was a brand new vehicle so NRE was high. For vehicles that are already designed, built and in service with other armies, only the much, much smaller cost of modifying them for British use would be a factor.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
17 days ago

This underlines what I have been saying for years. It is NOT the job of the armed forces to design equipment via overly detailed requirements. Such an approach – which was apparently common in my time and seems still is – is fundementally flawed for the simple reason requirments become part of the contract but they have NOT been tested as part of the design process. This means it is entirely possible to put stuff in the requirements that interfere with or are incompatible with other elements of the system. In the case of Ajax, it seems that the armour… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Yes, I will be avoiding this article after as it is the same old sorry story of failures and the same old rants. We are where we are. Makes me sad for the posters who try to remain positive on this.

Ian M
Ian M
15 days ago

Yup

DJ
DJ
16 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The other problem of over specifying, is that you limit the suppliers ability to innovate. If you say this is what I want to do, what can you come up with, you will get multiple idea’s surfacing. There have been military contracts that have failed to garner any bidders because no one (or not enough for a competition) would respond. Eg Canada – Canadian Rangers rifle or original US IFV competition or even original T31 competition. If you specify a Toyota, you will end up with a Toyota, even if it wasn’t the best fit for what you wanted to… Read more »

peter fernch
peter fernch
17 days ago

Surely its for General Dynamics to fix the problems FOC not the MOD .

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
17 days ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Hi peter,

Some of the problems are reportedly very much down to GD, but the overly detailed requirments could well be the root cause of many of the problems and they are very definately the Army’s / MoD’s fault. Worse if the two sets of issues are interacting to cause the delays then apportioning blame and hence costs is going to be a nightmare – the lawyers will be laughing all the way to the bank, again!

Cheers CR

Bob
Bob
17 days ago

Given that most of the issues appear to be related to the vehicle’s structure, drive train etc, I wonder how much of the “Enhanced digital and communication system” would be transferrable to a Boxer derivative?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
16 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Assuming the program to deliver the system can get back on schedule I would suggest the technical issues could include electical power supply capacity (comms and digital gizmos can use a lot), space (racking for the gizmos and cable runs), cooling (more holes in the hull to get the heat out of the interior). That’s all before you add in the 15″ guns, Aster VLS, and photon torpedoes… Seriously though I used to run trials out of the back of an old landie and it doesn’t take long to fill up the space with electronic stuff… Nice and warm on… Read more »

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
16 days ago

Scrap it now.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
16 days ago

One for the experts in this field, would we be better off purchasing one of these instead of Ajax and wasting more time and money? They have a 120mm version available too. “Lynx KF41 – Experience the future of mechanized warfare The Lynx KF41 is more than just a new, highly advanced vehicle: it is the ultimate future-proof platform, blending unsurpassed protection with massive firepower and unbeatable mobility in a uniquely modular concept. The Lynx can be configured for various roles, as e.g.: Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) Command & Control Armoured Reconnaissance Repair & Recovery Ambulance https://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/en/rheinmetall_defence/systems_and_products/vehicle_systems/armoured_tracked_vehicles/lynx/index.php Puma AIFV: “The… Read more »

lynx-inside-1170x610.jpg
Last edited 16 days ago by Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
16 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

In today’s news
Delays to Ajax armoured vehicles risk national security, MPs warn
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61679080

Stu
Stu
16 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

That’s my choice too. Though I’d opt for the smaller KF31 for recce work. Only about 30cm taller & longer than Ajax, same power, speed, weight etc. Designed from the off to have the armour the MoD want (rather than increasing base design by 12 tonnes) & has headroom for further growth. Boring myself now repeating it; bin Ajax. Salvage what we can. Take the working elements off Ajax (gun, cameras etc) & tell BAE (CV90) & Rheinmettal (KF31) they have 3 months to work up design. Pick a winner & get moving. Once in service, add all the whiz… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
16 days ago
Reply to  Stu

We really do need to get moving on this and as you quite rightly say, leave it to the lawyers to sort out the mess.

Pacman27
Pacman27
16 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

So if we go with KF41 I suggest we stop boxer and buy a wheeled and tracked version of the KF41 and just standardise the whole combat fleet Even better if there was an interchangeable system that allowed us to put tracks on a wheeled vehicle when needed. given where we are with boxer and CR3 and the fact it’s all rheinmetal we could use this to standardise the whole fleet n KF41 and order 2k units. at the end of the day we then get an industrial capability at scale and the best price possible and a whole range… Read more »

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Wheeled and tracked version? Not possible. Tracked = sprocket drive & steer through differential track speed. Wheeled = 8 wheel drive & steer by turning wheels.

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Thanks Stu. I know nothing about mechanics so my next question may seem strange.

starting with wheels can we not lock them them into place and change the tyres for something that acts like a cog for the tracks or alternatively can we not just add in a whole track side panel onto drives assuming electric drives for each tyre axle going forward as per HMT demo.

understand this is not easy but is it doable if we are looking at having a power pack produce energy for electric wheel motors?

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I suppose it’s ‘possible’ but not practical. Can’t simply replace wheel with drive sprocket as the teeth would wear too quickly. Even moving to electric power has issues. We also need a mechanism to tension the track when the wheels are moving up/down over terrain. It would require such a complicated addition to do it either mechanically or electrically, you lose all benefit gained from 1 vehicle type. That complexity increases cost, increases maintenance, increases weight, reduces reliability, we’re moving complex components outside of armour making it vulnerable. If individually armoured, adding yet more weight. We want to aim for… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Thanks again, so last one, as I am determined to try and square the circle. Can we create a version of the KF41 with wheels perhaps taking everything learned from boxer what I really would like is the ability to have a single hull and configure for wheels or tracks. this would be really useful for us in so many ways, and offer so many benefits in scale, production, training, parts inventory etc… i would do away with boxer, challenger, Ajax, warrior, all other tracks and just build this platform and have a factory churning out 160 per year in… Read more »

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Not sure what you mean by ‘learned from boxer’. If you’re referring to modularity, Lynx already has this by effectively replacing the roof & internal config. Tracked requires a certain ratio (more square) of length to width to create stable, manoeuvrable platform that won’t chew up its tracks. Likely cause a wobbly wheeled vehicle at speed (thereby losing the main benefit). Look how squared off a CV90, Warrior, Bradley etc is compared to Boxer, LAV, Patria etc. I think you’re overestimating the benefits of having one platform and benefits of scale. The platform you have in mind would be horrifically… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
14 days ago
Reply to  Stu

I’m a big fan of the Swedish Hagglunds SEP, have been for years, though I’ve never seen it brought up on here. If the future is electric (or more precisely, hybrid diesel-electric), then this looks like a cracking piece of automotive engineering to me. Lower running costs, quieter, greater crew comfort, etc. That comes in tracked or 8 x 8 wheeled versions. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitterskyddad_EnhetsPlattform After years of testing both types with funding from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, it was cancelled in 2008 by the Swedish Gov’t ‘through lack of an international partner’. That must mean the UK, as it was… Read more »

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Shelley

Thanks for that – I hadn’t come across SEP before. Interesting concept. Dual engine & gen set adds redundancy & electric drive motors have their advantages. I couldn’t see an 8×8 picture, only a 6×6 but they appear to have different hulls (i.e. not quite as interchangeable as Pacman27 proposed) but you’re right the commonality in drive train would allow for some economies of scale. I would worry about the track on that version slipping though as we’re reliant purely on friction between road wheel and belt but maybe that’s a non-issue, IDK. The US are looking at Hybrid for… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
13 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Thanks for all the add-ons, Stu (wow!). Just to pick up on a couple of points… SEP is not a ‘concept’ but a built and tested product – the US had a couple to trial at one point. For 8 x 8 info, you have to go to Google Images. Here’s one: http://www.military-today.com/apc/sep_8x8.htm As you point out, the 6 x 6 is a quite different beast (no hybrid and a modified hull), more down-market then. I don’t understand your point about the lack of sprockets to the tracks as I’m no engineer. But are you sure? I don’t read that… Read more »

Stu
Stu
13 days ago
Reply to  Shelley

“Add-ons”? Apologies, I don’t know what you mean. “Concept” – fair point. Should have said working demonstrators. Sprocket – My sincere apologies. I read it late last night & in my haste, I misread the article. The tracked version does in fact use a sprocket – neither of us are engineers but looks like we both figured it wouldn’t work without. ‘BAE from it’s own resources’ – I don’t know what they did with the tech since SEP but Wiki says “It was originally contracted by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration.” (This would be their version of DE&S) and “Swedish… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
13 days ago
Reply to  Stu

‘Add-ons’ – badly written phrase by me. Apologies. I meant the additional insights you provided to my original post. Funding – I agree with you and understand that the Swedish DMA coughed up for the dev’t costs on the SEP. Which probably means they own the IP. So for BAE to take it anywhere else, they would need consent, and no doubt to pay up for a licence. I believe BAE’s OMFV bid is loosely based on the Bradley chassis. Ajax replacment – bit of a misunderstaning there too. Again my fault through lack of clarity. I wasn’t suggesting SEP… Read more »

Stu
Stu
13 days ago
Reply to  Shelley

Add-ons – thanks. That’s one thing I like about these forums, sharing knowledge. Thanks again for introducing SEP. I never knew of it before. The more I read and ponder, the more I like it. Can see why you liked the concept. Just the power train alone is really quite smart; smaller engines, cheaper & easier to maintain, cheaper to replace & upgrade, redundancy (lose an engine & not immobilised). Very cool. ‘IP’ – I think more often than not, the contractor would keep this. ‘BAE OMFV on Bradley’ – really!? Interesting. I’d say that’s not a great idea unless… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
12 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Looks like we’re tiptoeing towards a broad agreement here, Stu. Which is nice and a good justification for sensible discussion. So thanks for your feedback. Only – as you’ve already gathered – I wouldn’t even include Lynx. Just give a single supplier contract to BAE Hagglunds. The other thing no-one has mentioned on here is the one group of stakeholders that is blameless in this fiasco – the several hundred strong workforce. As a UK company, BAE is the only one HMG could do business with to re-instate those 2 GD factories, for the assembly of 500 or so Ajax… Read more »

Stu
Stu
11 days ago
Reply to  Shelley

I believe we (almost) have an agreed solution. Buy off the shelf, use what we can from Ajax, hybrid later. Now, how do we go about getting the MoD to do our bidding? 😆 I’m curious – why so down on the Lynx? They could be made in the UK, they could take over the GD factory. If you need a UK contractor, RBSL already exist or they could partner with someone else. Is it a Rheinmettal thing with you or is there something in the design you don’t like? Where possible I’d like to see UK owned Co’s get… Read more »

Shelley
Shelley
12 days ago
Reply to  Stu

SEP reigns! I wonder how many others here were unaware of its existence?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
16 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Stu. You should run for PM mate. Much much much more sensible than all the bafoons in whitehall and all the top brass blithering donkeys in charge at the MOD.

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

😆 cheers bud but they’ll never let me be in charge. Job 1 would be sacking 10% of civil servants. Job 2 would be sacking another 10%.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
16 days ago
Reply to  Stu

It’s my choice also. With boxer, challenger 3 being done by rheinmettal and some of the work being done in the U.K. KF31/41 are an obvious choice. For up and coming projects can this also be worked into a bulldog replacement.
I do hope the army can work out what it wants. They need light stuff also easily deployable and/or get a load more heavy equipment transporters.
I really hope something from the ajax program is salvageable, hopefully the whole thing.
Is the heavy armour needed? It can’t stop a missile or a main tank round no matter how heavy

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

My understanding (and I’ve no special knowledge of this) is the up armoured KF31/41 (if you look at various pics & look at the side armour pack, you’ll see some thinner & thicker versions) is actually proof against a lot of main tank rounds across the front arc & against 30-40mm on the sides. Is it needed? No idea. I don’t know what the next conflict will look like. Better to have & not need than need & not have IMO. Re; bulldog replacement – yes. My thoughts would be a force structure of ‘strike’ with boxer (inc mortar/artillery &… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Stu
Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
16 days ago

Here we go again. The whole re structuring of the army in it’s various guises has been a fiasco. Ten years and billions of pounds have been spent achieving ZERO.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
16 days ago

Why give them to December? Make it sooner, 2-3 months max and start looking for alternatives now.

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yup. They’ve had more than long enough!

Andrew D
Andrew D
16 days ago

Time to move on can’t keep on with this Ajax project 🙏

Jon
Jon
16 days ago

I’ve pretty much given up on Ajax at least in its current incarnation, but the delays with Morpheus and LE TacCIS, another £3+ billion programme, are arguably an even more serious problem, also affecting RN and RAF. General Dynamics is the Transition Partner for Morpheus as well. Aren’t they doing well?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
16 days ago

Finding it difficult to square PAC statement that December 2022 anticipated as Go/No Go, in light of the BBC Newsite article today stating Army ‘cautiously optimistic’ that Ajax will be in service by 2030. Cautious optimism has been extant since 2010, so no change, then. But, on that basis, whoever in the MoD makes the 12/22 decision is going to be ‘extremely optimistic’ that they will be nowhere in the vicinity by the end of the decade. So what motivation will they have to call time in a few months? I anticipate a Go decision, but am inclined now to… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62
16 days ago

I hope the contracts have some way of minimising the nations losses over this dismal project. HMG has an obvious blind spot when public money goes to their mates with little public benefit. Our forces are lacking so much essential stuff yet we spaff vast amounts up the wall uselessly.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Frank,
Who are HMG’s mates in all this? The Board members of GDUK?

DMJ
DMJ
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Just part of his regular rant!

johan
johan
16 days ago

Ajax is forcing the MOD and it procurement team to look hard and fast at its requirements. AJAX we know, but has to follow a set process, so that if the program fails there is no risk to the UKgovs. Failure in MRA4/Warrior highlighted some big holes in MOD procurement. Ajax requires a new hull, as 90% of its vibration issue are related to the bracing of flat panels, issue with this is the internal fit is designed around that Hull and now is fouled by the bracing. this is why the MOD is doting I,s and T,s so that… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
16 days ago
Reply to  johan

Could not deliver what? Where is your source? They have, in fact, delivered a generation of products in the time that this project has been faffing around.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  johan

Johan, please say more about BAE being unable to deliver CV90 for the Ajax comptition.

Meirion X
Meirion X
14 days ago
Reply to  johan

“Maybe its time that rather than the Army decide on what it needs, it is told what its getting.”

So who decides what the Army will get?
And do the decision makers know what to get?

Paul.P
Paul.P
14 days ago
Reply to  johan

Could the BAE ‘failure’ actually arise from their telling the MOD that what they were asking for could not be delivered in any known hull?

Paul.P
Paul.P
14 days ago
Reply to  johan

“Ajax requires a new hull, as 90% of its vibration issue are related to the bracing of flat panels, issue with this is the internal fit is designed around that Hull and now is fouled by the bracing”.

  1. Does the bracing stop the vibrations?
  2. If it does the internal fit can surely be reconfigured – better option I would say than a completely new vehicle program.
peter Wait
peter Wait
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

All large flat steel panels tend to drum and vibrate if subjected to movement. This is why bulkheads , bracing and pressed indentations are used in vehicles and ships. Seems odd not to build a afv hull without stepped sides !

Philip
Philip
16 days ago

Buy the CV90 without further delay. Enough is enough.

dan
dan
16 days ago

Just buy the latest German APC. It’s a good piece of kit. Simple.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  dan

This article is about the Ajax recce vehicle not about infantry APCs. Totally different.

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  dan

Recce and APC are different roles. As a starting point, maybe. I also heard some negatives on the Puma; serious height restrictions for troops in the back, bad screens, poor situational awareness (badly designed UI). I believe the German Gov have had to allocate a lot of money to try and bring it up to spec. It’s failings are part of the reason Rheinmettal (50% partners on Puma) came out with the Lynx. It’s a Puma with the errors designed out of it.

Martin
Martin
16 days ago

Maybe it would be easier just to scrap the Army and start over. What public school educated green wearing Donkey thought it was ok to have a contract with 1200 specifications in it.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Public school educated army officers are in the minority.

Army officers do not draw up contracts; DE&S Commercial staff (civil servants) do.

Martin
Martin
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

DE&S works at the behest of the army officers, I’m pretty sure no one in the civil service came up with 1200 separate requirements. DE&S also works for the RAF and the RN and I have not seen them come up with such convoluted nonsense for the other services. Privately educated army officers should be a minority given private schools make up less than 7% of the country however there numbers especially at upper levels of the army appear to be suspiciously high.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Martin

An army officer, a Requirements Manager, probably from the RTR or Cavalry, would have written the various Requirements documents, which should have specified the output required and not the method of achieving them. Certain Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) was specified as is usual and there was a proviso that Ajax had to have the CTA40 cannon in commonality with that specified for Warrior upgrade. I cannot comment on the fabled 1200 figure (as I do not have the information on this point) or whether RN or RAF projects have a lot of requirements. Requirements documents are very involved and lengthy… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Graham Moore
Martin
Martin
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I just went through the bio’s of the last 5 heads of the British army and low and behold they all went to private schools. Is that just a coincidence or do you simply think those that attend such schools have a right to rule? Clearly given the mess of the British army not one of these gentlemen was capable or running such an institution. Do you think they perhaps used their privileged birth right to overcome their limitations to rise to the top of an organisation desperately I need of reform.

BobA
BobA
14 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin, I’m not sure what ace you’re trying to grind here other than just being bigoted. The Army has a slightly higher proportion of privately educated officers than the other services, but it’s only slight. Equipment isn’t the only thing the Army dies and it actually has a very good record of managing its budget vis a vis the other FLCs – and at some pain I might add. Your delusional if you think the other FLCs have managed themselves better. The last 5 FSLs and CASs have overseen the greatest reduction in combat power in their services since the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin, you are seriously off-topic. Do you think the last 5 CGSs have anything very much to do with Defence procurement in general or the failing Ajax programme specifically? They will have influence over the future shape of the army and some personal views as to what equipment is required but are not involved in decision-making on procurements. Very much aside from Ajax….Promotion in the army does not depend on which school you went to. These officers got to their high rank in a meritocracy, where only performance as stated in an annual report written by their superior and his/her… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
16 days ago

For a change I didn’t read “more agile and lethal” wonder friggin why!!! They can’t bluff there way out of this one surely.

peter Wait
peter Wait
12 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

People have now seen through the emperors new clothes and can no longer say the rumours are unfounded as my chum at GD says !

Jonno
Jonno
16 days ago

This never made sense to me. Never a breakthrough design. Not sourced in UK. weighs and as much as a WW2 Sherman We need something now that shares spares with our other vehicles. The Army must have huge problems with its OOD and unique equipment.

Knight7572
Knight7572
16 days ago

The British Army’s problem is that they have no plan as they’d got by saying we are fighting in iraq and Afghanistan but now that those conflicts are over the British Army has to fight for funding

John Clark
John Clark
16 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

You could argue that the sandbox years were responsible for causing considerable damage to the Army. It was ever sharply focused on rotating infantry elements, year in and year out and everything else slowly withered on the vine. It was the same with the Royal Marines, it took years to regenerate lost capability, as they effectively became line infantry too and effectively lost their specialised focus on amphibious and commando operations. When Afghanistan operations were over, a decision was taken that we couldn’t (or rather wouldn’t) rebuild the pre War on terror capability… When you add incompetent tail wagging the… Read more »

Knight7572
Knight7572
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Haven’t the royal marines fixed their problem?

John Clark
John Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Certainly, the RM’s are back on track, possibly going too far in the Commando direction, in an over correction!

The slow switch away from operating as a Brigade is worrying, perhaps the sudden need to look once more at the North ( not forgetting it’s about get far bigger with responsibilities coming with Finland and Sweden), we ‘might’ see a 180 degree switch back towards mass again.

Pacman27
Pacman27
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

i am a big fan of the RMC and believe it should be enlarged and given the task of having a brigade in the high north permanently. I also think the army need to learn lessons from the RMC and USMC who seem able to adapt to modern tactics and have a plan and set their organisation to deliver that plan. Whether those plans are perfect is another thing, but as Others have pointed out the Army is a paper organisation that seems to think it is double its current size and has not really addressed the fact it is… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Totally agree, I would like to see the Royal Marines expanded to a strength of 10,000, with renewed amphibious shipping as appropriate.

Add an additional Commando, allowing deployment of a Brigade and a single Commando as the “Marine Raider” Second tier SF element.

I’ve nothing against the Marine Raider as a concept, it will be needed for the on going war on terror and it will be an excellent ‘ go to’ tool for many world wide tasks.

But it should be a bolt on addition, not breaking the Brigade role…

AlexS
AlexS
15 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Another excuse. A 100000 men organisation can’t do various things?

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Well NATO expansion, ramped up threat levels and the war in Ukraine, are increasingly making SDSR 2021 look outdated.

It looks like the next review might have to think again about force structure, size and more importantly funding….

AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well it never made sense for me to buy so many Ajax(which should be split in various recon systems not just a tracked one) without a big increase in artillery and attack drone expense.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Originally 1,010 Ajax and variants were required – cut to 589 by HM Treasury.
Certainly agree we need more arty and attack drones.

bill masen
bill masen
15 days ago

Get more Boxers and Get more of those Fuchs / Fox NBC Recce vehicles , Ajax is a busted flush

Louis
Louis
14 days ago
Reply to  bill masen

Those vehicles have been in service in the UK since the 90’s and they were designed between 1961 and 1977 so thy are very old.

bill masen
bill masen
14 days ago
Reply to  Louis

But the Fuchs/ Fox actually works, unlike Ajax

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  bill masen

Boxer with a cannon would be at least £5m each. I bet the numbers get cut back, rather than increased.

Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago

So which senior managers on this project are getting fired then? If this were in the private sector heads would’ve rolled ages ago.

Stu
Stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Won’t happen. Even in many private organisations (especially larger ones) in the U.K., it’s hard to get rid of incompetence. Got to follow those ACAS guidelines…. Means you only get potted for gross misconduct, not gross negligence or gross stupidity. It is admittedly worse in public sector though.
Best we can hope for is they’re moved sideways, not promoted and never given any responsibility to waste money again. But rest assured, we’ll all be paying their fat salaries for years to come.

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Absolutely, by way of an example, last year I was referred to a private hospital by the NHS for surgery. My consultant told me that when they get people coming from the NHS there was always a period of “cultural adjustment” to go through… Basically, getting them to understand that they are entirely individually responsible for their actions and there was no longer a monolithic bureaucracy to hide in and be protected by, i.e raise your game! I was quite taken back at this, but he did say a proportion of highly qualified individuals, just can’t make the necessary adjustment… Read more »

Stu
Stu
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

“individually responsible” – careful! Imagine what the nation would look like if everyone took responsibility for themselves & didn’t rely on the Gov. to look after them. 🙄

“never cut the governmental umbilical cord” – You’re not wrong. Unfortunately this phenomenon is not restricted to those in work…

What really boggles me is that 1 in 5 (20%!!) of all working people in the UK get their paycheck from the state. “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” ― Oscar Wilde

John Clark
John Clark
13 days ago
Reply to  Stu

“The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” ― Oscar Wilde

Love it….

Gareth
Gareth
11 days ago
Reply to  Stu

careful! Imagine what the nation would look like if everyone took responsibility for themselves & didn’t rely on the Gov. to look after them. 🙄

Wait….the government is looking after people? (Apologies for the flippancy, couldn’t resist…)

Stu
Stu
11 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

😆
Well, I didn’t say the Gov. was any good at it. Makes me wonder why anyone relies on them.

Email Ittome
Email Ittome
14 days ago

Reallocate the surveillance and reconnaissance components intended for AJAX to a mission module for Boxer. Since MoD is never going to recoup the money spent, might as well force GD to do the work they couldn’t do with AJAX. I don’t think any “fix” will come without some drawback or capability trade-off. British Army will never get the AJAX to work accordingly, they might as well do what Australians are doing with their Boxers.

BobA
BobA
14 days ago
Reply to  Email Ittome

Well… I spoke to a guy who has just left the Aussie Army (a tanker) and who said that they are really worried about Boxer. In his words, ‘perfect for Mali, but we can’t take it anywhere we actually need to operate. It simply doesn’t cope with wet and hot, when the ground is wet it sucks and the turret makes it too heavy on everything in between!’

Last edited 14 days ago by BobA
Email Ittome
Email Ittome
14 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Fair enough, but the British Army is getting the Boxers starting next year, so that’s better than nothing. The version the Australians got is not what the British Army will be getting and they have not made their decision yet on what turret they are putting on their version. We’ll see where that leads to. I’m sure the person that you spoke to has legitimate concerns, but there are multitude of countries that have purchased the Boxers and they have had real world experience in Afghanistan. Which is more than we can say for Ajax. I’d be real interested in… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
11 days ago
Reply to  Email Ittome

There are no turret for British Boxers. It is supposed to take only a machine gun.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Is that a fact. We must be ordering 3 tranches of Boxer – the first to replace FV430/Bulldog and Saxon (very belatedly); the second for the Strike Brigade(s) and the 3rd to replace Warrior.
Surely at least the last tranche will sepcify a stabilised cannon of 30-40mm on each wagon?

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

At the moment no news on any Boxer gun turret.

AlexS
AlexS
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The whole Boxer order seems so wrong. Only 85 are Infantry. “Of its 523 Boxer MIVs, the UK will receive 85 infantry carrying vehicles, 60 engineer section vehicles, 62 recce and fire support vehicles, 28 mortar carriers, and 50 equipment support and repair platforms. The British Army will also acquire a mix of 123 command and control vehicles and C2-utility vehicles, 19 observation post vehicles, 24 beyond-line-of-sight platforms, 11 electronic warfare & SIGINT (signals intelligence) vehicles and 61 ambulances. The UK vehicles Remote Weapon Stations will be equipped with a mix of Heavy Machine Guns (HMG), Grenade Machine Guns (GMG)… Read more »

Graham
Graham
10 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Those 85 APCs would equip 3 battalions. Not sure how many battalions are getting Boxer but it will be more than that. This order is just one tranche and I expect there should be 2 more tranches.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  BobA

I have been concerned about Boxer’s mobility in ice, snow and deep glutinous mud for some time. Infantry need a tracked IFV.

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
14 days ago

Just my 10 bobs worth, but I think we should stop wasting our very limited defence budget on trying to rectify Ajax and buy off the shelf kit that is already tried and tested as we need something that works now not something that might work in 10/15 years time.

Albion
Albion
11 days ago

I would look at what the Sweds or Fins are using as a guide. Also the German Puma looks good.

nonsense
nonsense
10 days ago

Many comments say that Ajax should be replaced by another armed vehicle. look further Rather than Ajax, we have to go further beyond the necessity of an armed reconnaissance vehicle. Russia is already relying on toy drones for bombardment. Would you try reconnaissance on a battlefield like this with an armed vehicle? British Army already has the latest CAS-capable drone power equivalent to 100 bayractars. We need to get rid of the prejudice that we have to rely on armed vehicles for reconnaissance on the battlefield for details. In addition to small toy drones that can fly, various countries and… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by nonsense
nonsense
nonsense
10 days ago

If the British Army’s air superiority is not broken in any war, there is no reason to spend unnecessarily large sums of money on the latest armed vehicles.

It is better to buy a small factory for the repair, maintenance and use of older vehicles such as Warriors and Scimitars. -3D printing etc.

It is more efficient to use a small number of expensive drones that do not require features such as the latest hud for an armed vehicle, and require the latest technology.

Graham
Graham
10 days ago
Reply to  nonsense

Do you see no downside to extensive use of drones? They can be shot down or jammed, have limited loiter time and most importantly cannot seize, hold or dominate ground. The army has always had a mix of capabilities to achieve the same task to offset the drawbacks.

nonsense
nonsense
10 days ago
Reply to  Graham

Why should drones replace reconnaissance of armed vehicles?

The reason is simple.

because it’s cheap

That’s All.

Stu
Stu
6 days ago
Reply to  nonsense

Think you’d be putting all eggs in one basket there sir. Whilst there is no denying the day of the drone is upon us, using nothing but drones would be an error. We’ve had aircraft over 100 years & there was still a requirement for ground based recon. I don’t see that need changing just because we now have more aircraft in the form of drones. There are ways for people to hide from drones & at some point, someone has to close with & engage the enemy. Having the option of closing from within an armoured box seems a… Read more »

nonsense
nonsense
4 days ago
Reply to  Stu
Stu
Stu
4 days ago
Reply to  nonsense

Very cool! There are lots of UGV coming along & will no doubt find a place. The only difference of opinion we have (as I see it) is that I see such things as an addition, not replacement. I can see a time where they will replace, but not quite yet.
For now, Ajax (or whatever we buy instead of Ajax) & in the near future, I can imagine Ajax will have kit in the back for 2-4 guys controlling UGV’s & UAV’s to augment its abilities.

nonsense
nonsense
4 days ago
Reply to  Stu

😂

Daniel John Powell
Daniel John Powell
5 days ago

I think best for our interest Cancelled this and shift to full medium weight boxer 8 x 8 and tracked replacement Ajax issues. Will more reduce price as lots of order more boxer. https://defence-blog.com/rheinmetall-unveils-tracked-version-of-its-boxer-fighting-vehicle/ Would be good move as 155mm tracked ideal to replacement AS90 and wheeled can shared 155 MM artillery just transferred or needed to use would save logically. Also it is could use 40mm CTA turret on boxer mean same company to order reduce lose on some money on Ajax fund. 120mm MBT version meant could weight save and able transport bit longest range than challenger 2/3… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Daniel John Powell
nonsense
nonsense
4 days ago

The boxer’s unit price is 5 million, and the combined total of a large number of non-general purpose vehicle orders will never be cheap. The mod order method I’ve seen never gets cheap unless it’s something like cheap beylactar in the first place. MOD orders it as if it had to be bought expensive at any cost. Rather than relying on a boxer, it’s better to buy a cheap drone made in China that can be used as a surveillance resource for tens of thousands of units priced under £1K per unit. Even if the British Army spends from 100,000… Read more »

Daniel John Powell
Daniel John Powell
4 days ago
Reply to  nonsense

Sort agreed with this, I think Polaris or similar combined with drone, faster movement around battlefield. Commando and Para, special force Level but regular level possible we lack. I can understand where u come from as I think polaris combined with these Use Drone as scout and strike, Loitier drone/weapon and use NLOS like mmp or artillery, brimstone and spear 3 upgrade to NLOS canister launchers, lots of money to better spent on these. Like Robotic logistics platform 6×6/tracked and towed platfom, use drone launcher or nlos or mortar whatever is wise money spent. Deadly force to combat against. But… Read more »

nonsense
nonsense
4 days ago

The Ukrainian war I saw was not a war on dry land, but a traffic war in which armed vehicles and tanks rushed to the road desperately to avoid wet swamps. Heavy armored vehicles and tanks in wet swamps are powerless, contrary to what is known and expected by everyone. It’s simple physics. As the weight applied to the unit area increases, it becomes difficult to obtain surface tension and friction force. = Armed vehicles are powerless on wet ground. In fact, in many industrial sites, tracked vehicles weighing less than half the weight of a tank fall out of… Read more »