Provided General Dynamics are responsible for any issues that prevent Ajax from entering service, it has been revealed that they will ‘reimburse’ the Ministry of Defence.
The information came to light via the response to a Parliamentary written question.
Kevan Jones, MP North Durham, asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the scope of the parent company guarantee from General Dynamics for the delivery of AJAX includes reimbursement in the event that the vehicle is unable to reach IOC.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, answered:
“Yes, provided liability for breach is established.”
What’s going on with Ajax?
Back in September, the £5.5bn Ajax armoured vehicle project was effectively placed on ‘end-of-life watch’. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that “it is not possible to determine a realistic timescale for the introduction of Ajax vehicles into operational service”.
The following is an excerpt of statement from Jeremy Quin, the Minister for Defence Procurement.
“I wish to provide a further update to Parliament on the Ajax equipment project being delivered as part of the Armoured Cavalry Programme. Extensive work has been undertaken on the Health and Safety aspects of the Noise and Vibration concerns raised on Ajax. The Report is being undertaken independently of the Ajax Delivery Team by the MOD’s Director of Health and Safety.
Initially 121 personnel were identified as requiring urgent hearing assessments as a result of recent noise exposure on Ajax. Subsequently, the MOD broadened the scope of those who should be tested to all those who had been exposed to noise on Ajax. To date, a further 189 individuals have been identified that should be offered an assessment, giving a total number of 310 personnel. At present all dynamic testing and training on MOD’s Ajax vehicles remains paused.
I have made clear that no declaration of Initial Operating Capability will be made until solutions have been determined for the long-term resolution of the noise and vibration concerns. Work continues on both with General Dynamics heavily committed to delivering a safe resolution. Over the summer, work has been conducted to examine design modifications to reduce the impact of vibration. A design modification to reduce the risk of noise through the communication system is in development and is currently being tested. These may represent part of the overall solution but considerable work needs to be undertaken before any such assurances can be given.
Until a suitable suite of design modifications has been identified, tested and demonstrated, it is not possible to determine a realistic timescale for the introduction of Ajax vehicles into operational service with the Army. We will not accept a vehicle that is not fit for purpose.”
Just under 300 hulls that will one day become Ajax armoured vehicles have been delivered to the UK so far.