The Ministry of Defence have confirmed that “all testing and training on Ajax vehicles remains paused” adding “we will not accept a vehicle that is not fit for purpose”.

Additionally, the statement below states “it is not possible to determine a realistic timescale for the introduction of Ajax vehicles into operational service”.

The following statement is 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.

1. Health and Safety

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.

While the Report has not yet been concluded it is apparent that vibration concerns were raised before Ajax Trials commenced at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit in November 2019. In December 2018, an Army Safety Notice introduced restrictions on use in relation to vibration and identified that, in the longer term, a design upgrade was needed to reduce vibration. I will publish the Health & Safety report once it is finalised, which will contain a full timeline in relation to Health and Safety issues. Key themes likely to emerge from the Report will include:

The importance of having a culture that gives safety equal status alongside cost and schedule. The overlapping of Demonstration and Manufacturing phases added complexity, technical risk and safety risk into the programme. The value of having strong risk governance for complex projects that promotes access to expert technical advice on safety issues. Independent certification and assurance of land environment capability should be adopted and modelled on best practice elsewhere in Defence.

Following the Report’s conclusion, we will consider what further investigations are required to see if poor decision making, failures in leadership or systemic organisational issues contributed to the current situation not simply in relation to Health and Safety but more broadly as necessary.

2. Update on Personnel

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. Of these 304 have been contacted successfully; the remaining 6 are UK service personnel who have recently left service and are in the process of being traced.

The health of our service personnel is our top priority. 248 personnel, including 113 from the original cohort of 121, have now been assessed. The Army continues to identify and monitor the hearing of all personnel exposed to noise on Ajax, with additional testing put in place where required. The Army is also in the process of identifying any health effects in those potentially exposed to vibration. Veterans who have been exposed to noise or vibration on this project will be supported throughout and will have access to the same assessments as those still serving. I will update the House on the number of personnel affected by noise and vibration in due course, including if any trends become apparent once the data has been analysed.

3. Technical Issues

At present all dynamic testing and training on MOD’s Ajax vehicles remains paused. A Safety Assurance Panel for Ajax, comprising Duty Holders from MOD, General Dynamics, Millbrook and independent advisers, has been established to assure that independent testing can recommence safely at Millbrook Proving Ground. Subject to the Panel’s final endorsement and General Dynamics own safety approvals, Millbrook trials are expected to resume imminently, initially deploying General Dynamics crew in MOD owned vehicles, with real time monitoring of vibration and in-ear noise.

The independent trials at Millbrook are essential to provide the evidence to support fundamental root cause analysis and to enable the safe resumption of wider trials and training activity. The focus for the MOD and General Dynamics remains on identifying the root causes of the noise and vibration issues to develop long-term solutions to ensure Ajax meets the Army’s need.

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.

As is often the case with defence procurement process, there have been a number of Limitations of Use (“LOUs”) placed on Ajax vehicles during the early phase of use. LOUs restricting speed and the maximum height for reversing over steps have now been removed and work continues on removing other LOUs.

Ajax is an important capability for the Army and we are committed to working with General Dynamics for its delivery. We have a robust, firm price contract with General Dynamics under which they are required to provide the vehicles as set out in the contract for the agreed price of £5.5bn.

To assist in the delivery of Ajax we have identified the need for a full time, dedicated Senior Responsible Owner who will preferably be able to see the project through to completion, or indeed advise if the project is incapable of being delivered. A short-list of candidates is currently under consideration. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority are also providing MOD with expert support to establish a recovery plan for the programme.”

We recently reported that the Ministry of Defence have confirmed that “there may be a requirement for Warrior to be used in some reconnaissance roles” until the troubled Ajax armoured vehicle is brought into service.

Warrior could ‘be used in some roles’ until Ajax enters service

In the below piece, analyst Robert Clark takes an in-depth look at the latest ongoing saga regarding the British Army’s plagued Ajax armoured vehicle.

Replacing Ajax with Warrior – A short-term fix for a long-term problem

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eclipse
eclipse
6 days ago

At this point I believe we might have no choice but just to buy OTS from another company.

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Yep, but you can guarantee that GD had better lawyers doing the contract and there won’t be an escape clause that allows MOD to canx without hefty payment even though not delivered within a timeframe. says fixed price but not delivery timeframe. Face it Goverment don’t pay enough to get best lawyers etc

Last edited 6 days ago by Steve M
eclipse
eclipse
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Taking into account that our Chancellor went to both Oxford and Stanford and many MPs went to respectable law schools, and that the government of the worlds fifth largest economy has more than enough money to pay a lawyer, I find it hard to believe that they would be completely unable to sign an adequate contract. I know something like QE comes to mind, but it is possible that MoD purposefully signed such a contract to ensure that HMG couldn’t then cancel PWLS like they wanted to.

Chris
Chris
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

“I find it hard to believe that they would be completely unable to sign an adequate contract.”

MoD Procurement: “Hold my beer.”

Last edited 6 days ago by Chris
eclipse
eclipse
6 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Lmao.

defcon
defcon
6 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris is obviously an industry insider;)

Chris
Chris
5 days ago
Reply to  defcon

Ha ha!

Thankfully I’m not involved in MoD procurement but I am directly involved in other UK government procurement projects and we all operate to the same rules. Rules which are designed to ensure those at the top of the chain continue to enjoy the benefits of the hugely expensive teflon desks at which they sit!

Last edited 5 days ago by Chris
Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Given the amount of long term planning, acquisition of lead items and the sheer scope of the building process, i’m not surprised heavy penalties were in place for any cancellation of QE class.. As it happens we now have two highly capable carriers deploying 5th Gen warplanes, world leaders in their field.
Deeply concerning problems were identified with Ajax a good couple of years ago, so its no surprise we are where we are with it now? Its not fit for purpose, and to be honest, not sure it ever will be……
I

BB85
BB85
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

It made sense for the Labour government to sign a water tight contract for the carriers as they knew it was high risk of cancelation. Less so on Ajax, there are bound to be technical requirements GDUK need to meet that they are not, and there must be a time bound commitment to it or they could deliver in 2040. I have a feeling GSUK will be told to remanufacture the hulls at their own expense but I’m not even sure if that would fix all of the issues if they still can’t fire on the move and reverse over… Read more »

Grant
Grant
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

The two QE ships cost less than the Ajax contract….

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago
Reply to  Grant

If that’s the case, then you have to ask why we are paying so much?

Andy a
Andy a
5 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Because we were making gold plated bespoke kit with a magic data back bone, all off which we should write off and double boxer buy but with some heavy hitting toys on board

maurice10
maurice10
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Were programme management protocols badly controlled and what disciplines were adopted? I think SIGM or something like that, appears to prevent major flaws during the design engineering phase? Such processes were adopted across British engineering along with regular ISO audits (sorry if incorrect) and should have identified and alerted significant constraints early enough to flag the issues. The current situation is calamitous, and could be the equivalent, to British Leyland’s Austin Allegro. Badly planned, designed and marketed and none of the post-launch corrective actions could arrest the product from an early grave. I fear Ajax could have been a top-down… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
5 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

This might sound foolish but why should MoD pay for a product that is not fit for the job… it is a faulty vehicle and cannot be accepted.

Steve
Steve
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

I doubt it has anything to do with not being able to afford lawyers or even not knowing how bad the contract is, i suspect its more about what could be negosiated and i suspect the gov agreed to take on additonal risks to save a buck up front, moving potential costs to a future date where they are no longer in the role and therefore can’t be blamed. Short termism is always a problem with public sector procurement.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Sue them or at least threaten to. GD cannot afford to take on a government in court?

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago

If we did it’s likely US congressmen on GD’s payroll would have a fit and threaten HMG with armageddon and which side would the current US administration take !

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Just damned lucky it’s not Boeing building them even the US Govt seems helpless in withholding new orders or payments in light of their influence amongst the power brokers and the final product would probably be more akin to an mule than a motorised vehicle. They would play up its (mostly) quieter nature, cheap running costs and terrain crossing characteristics mind.

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Well that’s cheered me up even more ! LOL

Chris
Chris
5 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Ha ha! Why use a mule when you can use a million dollar robot mule?

https://time.com/2987608/us-military-robotic-mule/

Never underestimate the ability of the military industrial complex to find ever more inventive ways to milk the military for more money!

George Parker
George Parker
4 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Pro-IRA biden would love to stick the knife in HM Gov. Just before being wheeled away to the nursing home.
Limiting procurement to facilities ultimately owned by BAE Systems has many benefits and makes good sense.

Steve
Steve
6 days ago

You assume it’s GD fault. The UK gov can’t afford to take GD to court and to lose, because it comes out they messed up they won’t be able to spin it anymore as the uncertainty will be removed. The gov would prefer to be able to rant about issues, whilst avoid all risk of blame.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Did the government/MOD fabricate the flawed Ajax hulls? …nope that was done by a Spanish factory that is either owned or subcontracted to GD.

Steve
Steve
6 days ago

The question is did the MOD require a flawed design and/or sign off on it without properly checking. If yes, then its the MOD’s fault. At this stage we dont’ know what is wrong to understand who’s fault it is.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago

As I mentioned in a previous post. It is incumbent on the contractor to deliver what was ordered and that it is fit for purpose. It is not the responsibility of the customer to do this. Yes they have to test it to make sure it meets their criteria, but that’s it.

The MoD have finally got some balls and said enough is enough. Just wish they would do that with other programs.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hi DaveyB, You are of course right if the MoD / Army did indeed provide a clear and STABLE requirement. The army has not been able to come up with a stable set of internally agreed requirements for decades. Everytime you change the requirements you justifiably incure the costs! The problem in MoD / Army procurement is basically too many cooks, lack of clear leadership and a fundemental lack of understanding of engineering. The main excuse is changing threats – you do NOT deal with this issue by changing the requirements. You deal with it by either anticipating the evolving… Read more »

Steve
Steve
6 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It’s the last part that is key, lack of accountability and being held responsible. Its a fine line as mistakes happen, no matter how competent you are and you don’t want to sack people for every mistake they make, but big mess ups should results in heads rolling, so the replacements understand the consequences of not caring.

George Parker
George Parker
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve

You got that right Steve. Complete lack of accountability.

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Mate, I couldn’t have said or put it any better. I had worked in DE&S for 3 years as a service person. Witnessing, as you bluntly put it, requirement growth. As a requirements manager/desk officer, not only do you have to manage the project, but also be seen to put your name to it. For an officer this means that after you have taken over the project from your previous incumbent, you have to put your stamp on it. Otherwise come OJAR time you will get marked down and not advance as you hoped. But what was perhaps worse, is… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

What you say makes a lot of sense, I’ve not worked at that level but been around when new equipment was being commissioned and hearing through the grapevine how it was researched (and who was asked) and it wasn’t the guys who were currently doing the job, it was guys higher up the chain who hadn’t been an operator in a long time. Its not like they were off researching new gear either, just ‘right place, right time’ stuff. As for the issues with officers only being interested in their own careers…. no, Shirley not, that never happens…. I don’t… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Hi Daveyb, Yup, I know what you are talking about. I worked with a lot of people from all 3 services. The guys embedded with the analysis teams tended to get it at least after a while. For the most part they were very good. I worked on the air side of things but from a Joint perspecitive so included RAF, FAA, AAC and RA (SAM’s). It was an advisory role, we carrier lots of research and analysis knowing that if our finding findings were even read they woudl be watered down by the ‘grown ups’ in MoD. Uniforms and… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

That is scarily similar to the process I encountered working as an external contractor for Nat West. Not only did they send across their requirements at every stage around 4 30 on a Friday afternoon to be delivered for Monday Morning at each stage as you progressed it got passed on up the food chain with every single management level having to put their mark on it whether required or not either through ego or more often just to make sure no one above thought they were expendable. In the end no matter how devoted you are the impetus to… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I am hoping that when going through and learning about project management. That more and more people are introduced to the “Scrum” method. This takes away lots of nonsense managerial steps that hold up a project. The system was designed by a couple of guys who used to be in the USAF, before going into software development. They faced the same problems, projects getting delayed by constant reviews and interference, pushing the project to the right further and incurring mounting costs. Lots of people know about Prince2 and APM. But neither of these really tackle the issue of getting a… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Scrum and or Kanban.

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago

Personally prefer Scrum. Kanban brings up sad connotations of a rotating rack of spares containing screws, nuts etc. that falls over spilling them everywhere.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It’s Britain they have likely been promoted as long as they are on silly handshake terms with those doing sourcing.

Andy a
Andy a
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Your right but I read the MOD signed off they were happy to begin limited production!!!

Chris
Chris
6 days ago

It is honestly hard to see how they can have screwed this up this badly.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago

What is meant by use of Warrior in ‘some’ reconnaissance roles?
Is Warrior going to be better at recce in the short term than Striker?
Does anyone agree that it was a mistake to include ‘Strike’ to the SV recce remit?
What do we buy off the shelf if Ajax cannot be made good?

John Mayall
John Mayall
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The latest version of CV90 would be the obvious choice, proven, highly capable and cheaper! Personally, I like the look of Lynx.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  John Mayall

What an irony there is in that

BB85
BB85
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The French Jaguar looks like a well thought out reconnaissance vehicle, Griffon would also meet our MRVP needs, I just hate the thought of buying off them when they will never offset the investment in our industry.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
6 days ago

The MOD should Sue GD … it looks like the root cause of Ajax’s problems is the shocking bad quality of the hull fabrication. This is why we need to manufacture locally in the UK so we can keep a closer eye and control of quality.

If we are going to carry on with this project, then commission a more competent company to fabricate the hulls, or even invest in opening Manufacturing sites.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago

Totally agree with you on this point. We have a ton of very capable high techology engineering SMEs that would relish these types of jobs. I bet they wouldn’t make elementary mistakes of this nature. Also we really do need more competent people in the MoD that are SQEP on their roles. There used to be design authories in the MoD that would be able to converse technically and now they don’t exist. We pay expensive consultants and most of them aren’t worth the pay.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

MoD give up the DA role to Industry (OEM) in about the early 90s and passed the OEM a shed-load of cash annually for them to discharge that role. Abrogation of repsonsibility and a nightmare financially. The slightest change the MoD wants to make to a ‘sealed design’ is billed to MoD at sky-high rates.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago

It is deeply embarrassing for the MoD this debacle. I know the UK government is currently one of the most inept but this does take the biscuit. I think the MoD procurement process needs fundamental reform. The conveyor belt of consultants needs trimming. The issue is that MoD needs to pay techncal people good salaries and get the very best. Instead the recruit the worst and pay them peanuts compared to many consultants.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Hi Andrew, When I was in the MoD procurement system, both as a Civil Servant and as a contractor, there were many very good engineers and scientists in the technical Civial Service and with contractors. The good point was that most of these people were definately into the technology, but not so much into the ‘politics’. So there is a challenge here. Senior people – the decision makers, who these days are senior military officers – have to listen to the techies who are often at a much more junior rank. It seems to me that the RAF and RN… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Also DGDQA has been cut to the bone over the years – these guys were often embedded in Industry facilities.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Another group who were being side lined was the scrutineers. A bunch of project police within MoD whose job was to ensure and guide projects through the correct process. I recon they stood up to the grown ups once to often.

Cheers CR

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

I wonder how many consultants were employed by MoD on the Ajax project? Who were they, where did they come from and what did they do?

Tech pay – I was commissioned into REME in 1975 – I heard that some years before that, that technical officers got higher pay than ‘mainstream officers’ but it was dropped, although retained for army doctors, dentists, lawyers, aircrew etc.

James
James
6 days ago

So if we refuse to accept a vehicle that is not fit for purpose then im assuming we will be getting a full refund on the program then?

Or did someone sign a contract saying we have to pay regardless of any circumstances again?

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago
Reply to  James

Unfortunately probably the latter rather than the former. There seems to be too close a relationship between the defence industry and MoD. Why don’t we have involve more of the civil sector like JCB? I bet they could design and build something much better and cheaper. We need to shake things up a little so that companies like General Dynamics are given formal notice they are excluded from major bids for say 10 years until they have proven themselves on smaller less expensive and less critical projects. I bet there is a large number of SMEs that could do a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Top brass moving post military to the boards of defence contractors and who know which buttons to push and who to chat up.
Plus their own vested self interests of course.

John Clark
John Clark
6 days ago

Summed up beautifully Daniele…. Ajax started as an existing design, the MOD then had to ‘modify’ it beyond all recognition and down the rabbit hole the programme goes…. God knows what the eventual costs will be, as the tax payer is fleeced, yet again, probably end up being four times the original projected costs…. Get ready for exactly the same with Puma replacement, ” it must have substantial UK content” = triple the price and 10 years late. We actually have a pretty healthy defence budget in the UK, but we waste enormous amounts of money on bespoke projects. It… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well if it is they aren’t even doing that well are they, the number of sizeable UK defence companies seems to dwindle by the month as they sell out to foreign competitors.

John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Neither the less, that’s what they do. These companies sell out to foreign investors, as they offer excellent returns for their share holders, simple as that.

It’s rare that the government steps in to intervine as our defence Estate is parted out.

Nick C
Nick C
6 days ago

What is interesting about the statement in the article is that the MOD are only now interviewing for a Senior Responsible Owner to actually pick up the problem and knock heads together. What we are seeing is management by committee, so no one is responsible and everyone has moved on by the time the problems come up. “Not my fault, guv”
In the meantime the army haven’t got the capability they need and the PBI have got nothing but tinnitus.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

That amazes me. I thought as a matter of course all major projects at DES had a SRO.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

Certainly, you’ve touched upon a couple of salient points. The first is indeed querying why the bold announcement on QA oversight is referenced to Ajax in 2021, when the issue has severely affected British Army procurement back to at least the beginning of this century. The other, i.e. ‘everyone has moved on’ is one I struggle with as a major factor. It strikes me that all MOD services and indeed all armed forces the world over have senior staff regularly juxtaposed between operational commands and desk drafts. Yet UK Land Forces in particular seem unusually affected by this modus, we… Read more »

Nick C
Nick C
5 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

If you want another take on the problem I think the Public Accounts committee took some testimony about six weeks ago. It was very well summarised in Private Eye, basically the contractor and the MOD Mandarin were both wriggling about and not answering the question. The inference was that the programme is not deliverable, full stop.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

Major General Carew Wilks, was Director Land Equipment in the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support ( DE&S ) Organisation, some 7 or 8 years ago. Perhaps he was the SRO.
However today he is in a quite different role at GD!

Nick C
Nick C
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

He doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
4 days ago

That wouldn’t be Maj-Gen (Ret’d) Carew Wilks by any chance?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Wasn’t thinking of him when I commented but yes! What a surprise, GD and DLE previously!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Interesting take, I saw a documentary on JCB a while back and I was amazed at the skill, and technological level they are at in their design processes clearly very focused on the future in these regards when I suspected something far more agricultural when I think of the market place they are in, so not surprised they thrive in a sector where pretty much everyone else has been acquired by overseas companies or disappeared entirely.

BB85
BB85
6 days ago
Reply to  James

It must have passed a lot of previous test and acceptance milestones over the last 10 years which will make a full refund next to impossible.
If people have signed off under pressure changes need to be made and the contract cancelled if GDUK cannot completely resolve the issues on new vehicles in the next 12 months.

James
James
5 days ago
Reply to  BB85

The test and acceptance milestones must have been very lax to say the least, whats involved in those does the engine start? Can the door open?

Its not a wonder the Army has suffered so much with funding, id not be trusting anyone making decisions on that side with any money going forward!

Pacman27
Pacman27
6 days ago

the fact that the manufacturer seems incapable of building to the required standard (ie the vehicles are not perpendicular) is deeply concerning.

I think we should just call it a day – accelerate Boxer with a remote turret that also has ATW’s and APS and then make a decision on heavy armour based upon the new tank design (ie one hull for all HA including future IFV).

Really disappointing this is dragging on – time to stop and recoup the money already spent. Engines and Turrets can be reused the rest need to be reimbursed by the vendor.

Grant
Grant
6 days ago

The cost in the equipment plan for 580 odd of these things is £6Bn. We could buy two more carriers, 60 F35s, 180 Merlins all of which would be much more useful then a tracked armoured vehicle which is too heavy to be air transported and which a peer enemy would make mincemeat of….

Bin off the contract; and if we have to pay penalties take the cost of an off the shelf replacement from the pensions and salary of the morons who work in MOD procurement.

Damo
Damo
5 days ago
Reply to  Grant

Good luck with that….

Grant
Grant
5 days ago
Reply to  Damo

Yep I know fantasy land stuff tragically.

James
James
5 days ago
Reply to  Grant

How on earth could the company implement penalties for contract cancellation when they cannot deliver on it at all?

A half decent legal team would easily be able to get out of any contract.

Grant
Grant
5 days ago
Reply to  James

Who knows… probably a thin ‘outcome based specification’ which they will argue that they have met. I suspect all will depend on whethwr GD think there is any future potential for new business in the UK…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Grant

The cost of modern AFVs is very high, which makes me surprised that some refer to them as simple and non complex. We definitely need a recce vehicle to replace Scimitar, of that there can be no doubt. Ajax was the wrong vehicle in nearly every way possible.
We should sue GD UK for Liquidated Damages.

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago

All I can say is this seems to be a farce of the highest order – and ,from what I’ve garnered during my short vists to this board, not unexpected ,nor surprising.I don’t know which of those two aspects are the most laughable but I’d suggest the second & I await the political fall out from this ongoing failure. However I wont be holding my breath whilst I wait for accountability to be decided.

Last edited 6 days ago by grizzler
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
6 days ago

This is a disgrace. Scrap it. I’m not one for saying such a thing because you end up with nothing for another 10 years, because the lessons are never learnt – at least the army appears incapable of learning the lessons. £billions spent and not a single armoured vehicle delivered to the frontline since 1997, other than the UOR’s for Afghan – and they were hardly delivered quickly either! Round up all and any muppet who has contributed to this debacle and sack ’em! Uniformed or not. £billions of tax payers money spent and the army has NOTHING. I’d have… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
5 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

It seems like the Army isn’t sure what it’s meant to do, who they’re supposed to be equipping to face or how to go about it anymore.

Mike
Mike
6 days ago

Must admit that I struggle to understand army direction with its attempted procurement. A recce vehicle that is massive and limited transportability, Warrior tracked ifv gone replaced by wheeled boxer with only limited firepower, or do they see Ajax family taking that role if needed.

It’s a mess

David Steeper
David Steeper
6 days ago

Maybe we need to go back in order to go forward. Clear out all the Uniforms from procurement and put the engineers back in control. The problem is the Army would fight to the death to keep all the desks they currently fill even to the point of trying to sabotage any transfer. If they do then maybe the only answer is to put Army procurement into special measures like has happened with corrupt and or incompetent local councils. Either way something has to change.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

There are plenty of uniformed engineers in the army.

Michael Heron
Michael Heron
6 days ago

Since Rheinmetall and BAE are working together on the Challenger 3 why cannot they offer the Lynx and modify their turret it with all planned tech for Ajax?

Pmichael
Pmichael
6 days ago
Reply to  Michael Heron

A proven basic design was requested back then, so Lynx was never an option. But with all those delays of the once ‘world leading’ stuff you could basically buy an ‘of the shelf’ Lynx and basically cover all roles today.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
6 days ago
Reply to  Michael Heron

That’s being saved up for the next debacle no doubt.

Wollaston
Wollaston
6 days ago

Considering BAE is the design authority for Warrior, it seems crazy that the MOD decided to go to GD, especially since GD had to create a new factory from scratch.

Was this the handiwork of the Treasury, thou shalt develop competition for BAE.

The government seems to know nothing about developing engineering and manufacturing skills. It not something just brought in on a whim.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  Wollaston

GD also had to create a company from scratch – GD UK. I wonder how many of the South Wales workforce had any track record (forgive the pun) in making AFVs.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
6 days ago

WHAT???? No SRO already in place and working on such an important programme? Holy……

PaulSergeant
PaulSergeant
6 days ago

General Carter appointed an SRO who agreed to spend, I think, 20% of his time on that job. They are now looking for a full time SRO. I’m not sure who “they” are, but it looks like there will be more process than just a face fits for the CGS.

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
5 days ago
Reply to  PaulSergeant

Thanks. Can’t see a CGS ever being a good SRO.

OOA
OOA
6 days ago

Total Cluster F..k

Marked
Marked
6 days ago

Clue. The in service date starts with N and ends with R.

And it’s not November!

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago

Can’t afford to waste money again like other projects go for CV90 or Lynx 💰

BB85
BB85
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Well Boris just raised £12bn in taxes so we can afford another 3fk ups like this all over again.

James
James
4 days ago
Reply to  BB85

I think the 12bn will be getting spent on other things than defence.

Andy a
Andy a
5 days ago

Just found quote to everyone blaming the company
The company also stated that 25 vehicles built in order to meet Initial Operating Capability have been delivered and, according to the company, “accepted by the Army”.
Why accepted? Do we even test them?

Last edited 5 days ago by Andy a
John Clark
John Clark
5 days ago
Reply to  Andy a

These certainly a lot to address here. The crux of the issue really does seem to be what do we expect the modern army to do? Ajax was borne when we were still expected to form armoured and mechanised brigades to fight in Europe and the middle East. It got progressively larger and heavier, not really an issue if it’s shipping out with Challengers and MLRS, AS90’s etc … But, in the 20 years this programme has slowly dragged along from inception, we shifted to counter terrorism and insurgency, to a new ethos of light rapid reaction forces, deployed by… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

This vehicle was only selected 10 years ago for the armies scout requirement. Long after our intervention in Afghanistan. The army has no excuse for the colossal balls up. Especially when it comes to weight and size of the vehicle. I still don’t know how it got prioritised over the 8×8 mechanised vehicle apart from the army not wanting to scrap all of their recently purchased UOR mrap vehicles until they got some use out of them.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  John Clark

The fact that a few thousand soldiers in the army deployed at any one time to Afghanistan for about 20 years has no bearing on the need for armoured reconnaissance (elsewhere) against peer or near-peer opponents equipped with AFVs.

We need a replacement for CVR(T) no matter where small parts of the army are deploying to. The issue is whether or not Ajax is a good and suitable replacement.

Jason M Holmes
Jason M Holmes
5 days ago

Almost as bad as with Nimrod MRA4

Rob N
Rob N
5 days ago

It is quite clear Ajax should be scrapped and an off-the-shelf alternative bought. Otherwise this programme will become a money pit and only deliver a flawed vehicle.

Steve
Steve
5 days ago

I find it interesting that still no details of what is actually causing the issues has been leaked or officially released. Normally someone in the MOD/civil service has an axe to grind and leaks reports. Very unusual.

Until details are released, officially or otherwise, it’s impossible to know who’s fault it is or if it’s even fixable.

Last edited 5 days ago by Steve
pete wait
pete wait
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The seventh (rear) road wheel has been seen dragged back by the track and them jumping forward, this suggests the torsion bar and dampers don’t work well with the vehicles weight gain. It has been reported vibration from engine driveline causing excess noise. Turret wobble from cannon firing seems is also a problem!

George Parker
George Parker
5 days ago

If as people below have indicated, the problems with procurement are the result of shifting requirements and lack of continuity. Then someone clearly needs to get a grip of the situation. Simplify the system and make it efficient. Civilian industries have no problem requesting new equipment from manufacturers. Surely it’s not too much to ask that the MoD/Army do the same.
There is a phenomenon that plagues the armed forces know as “Promoted to point of incompetence.” Then shuffled sideways to a desk posting where they can do the least damage. Time to cut away the deadwood.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  George Parker

George, Civilian industries don’t order equipment as complex and state-of-the-art as military vehicles, other platforms and weapons systems. That is the reason it takes a decade or more to bring such kit into service, not because of deficiencies in the procurement system. CVR(T) – time from concept to equipment entering service – 12 years. AS90 – 8 years Warrior – 12 years CR2 – 12 years. Your view of promotion in the Forces is cynical – it is a merit-based system, fair if the annual reports are fair – I have not seen incompetent officers being promoted. Incompetent officers are… Read more »

George Parker
George Parker
1 day ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham, let us agree to differ on the niceties of the procurement system and it’s deficiencies. I will explain promotion to the point of incompetence. It too is merit based. A soldier proves himself at rank one and is promoted to rank two on merit. He excels at that rank too on merit and is promoted to rank three. At which level he is incapable of excelling and his promotion ends. As you say. ” Incompetent officers are not promoted as they lack the quality of reports.” They remain in a post performing at the lowest level of their career.… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 days ago

Ministerial answers are becoming progressively more downbeat (latest 9/ 11). It is incomprehensible that it has taken 10 years and£3.5b to reveal that the core platform is so fundamentally flawed. Why were the problems not identified and remedied at the prototype stage?

George Parker
George Parker
1 day ago
Reply to  Peter S

The answer Peter is incompetence within the MoD procurement system. Failure to fix requirements at a manageable/deliverable level. OR failure to perform necessary progress checks and include relevant penalty clauses in the contracts. Take your pick, the truth is in there somewhere.
Too many “partner” based relationships and too few awkward customer tactics. Insisting that fully functional equipment is delivered first time, on time. Remember, as taxpayers we are the customers who pay the bills. It is our right to ask the tough questions and demand answers. Arses need to be kicked and heads need to roll.

KLD
KLD
3 days ago

Just read and posted on a story in the daily mail about the Ajax and now they are saying it might have to be scrapped. Over £3.5B wasted. That could have bought 10-12 type 31 frigates…

SD67
SD67
5 minutes ago

“Senior Responsible Officer” must be a euphemism for “fall guy”….