The Ministry of Defence has disclosed that it has spent £4.096 billion on the Ajax armoured vehicle programme as of May 14, 2024.

This information was provided in response to a parliamentary question posed by John Healey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.

Healey inquired, “How much the Department has spent on the Ajax programme as of 14 May 2024?” This question seeks to shed light on the financial commitment and progress of one of the Ministry’s significant defence projects.

James Cartlidge, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded with a precise figure, stating, “As of 14 May 2024, £4.096 billion has been paid against the General Dynamics Ajax contract milestone payment plan.” This figure reflects the payments made to General Dynamics, the contractor responsible for the development and delivery of the Ajax vehicles.

The Ajax programme, aimed at delivering a fleet of state-of-the-art armoured fighting vehicles, has been a crucial part of the UK’s efforts to modernise its land forces. The vehicles are designed to provide enhanced protection, mobility, and situational awareness to the British Army.

A total of 446 Ajax vehicles are scheduled for delivery to the Army from 2024 to 2028, with yearly deliveries varying from 93 in 2024 to 125 in 2027, plus an extra 143 vehicles set to be retrofitted and delivered by 2029.

The information came to light in response to a Written Parliamentary Question.

John Healey MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Ajax vehicles are scheduled to be delivered to the Army in (a) 2024, (b) 2025, (c) 2026, (d) 2027, (e) 2028, (f) 2029 and (g) 2030.”

James Cartlidge MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, replied:

“The table below shows the number of newly built Ajax platforms due to be delivered to the Department, with only deployable vehicles being delivered going forward.

YearNumber
202493
202589
202666
2027125
202873
20290
20300

In addition to the numbers of newly built platforms listed above, there are 143 Ajax vehicles that will be retrofitted from earlier build standards to the final deployable build standard. The plan for when these retrofitted vehicles will be delivered is currently still in development, however all are currently scheduled for delivery by 2029.

It is anticipated that all vehicles will be delivered to the Army in the same calendar year they are delivered to the Department. If the vehicle is received late in the year, it is possible that the Army will receive the vehicle in the next calendar year.”

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Bazza
Bazza (@guest_821728)
1 month ago

14th of May, not May 14th.

Sam
Sam (@guest_821738)
1 month ago
Reply to  Bazza

Might be ahead of Boxer, based upon this delivery schedule.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821870)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Well ahead. Rough estimates to accomplish full Boxer delivery are in the order of 10-20 years.

Sam
Sam (@guest_821984)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

At least another decade of the eternal Bulldog then.

Ron
Ron (@guest_821758)
1 month ago

Does anyone know if after Batch 1 is completed if there is any option for a Batch 2 or possibly future payloads for a Batch 2, e.g 10mm gun, or Brimestone, Land Ceptor e.g.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_821793)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

I don’t think they plan on any more Ajax variants Ron, Boxer is going to be the Swiss army penknife of options I think….

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821872)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

10mm gun?

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_821875)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The latest armour piercing pistol.
I wonder how fast you could make a 50 cal bullet go if it was attached to a 120mm cartridge?

Ron
Ron (@guest_821899)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sorry 105mm gun

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822052)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

Thanks Ron! I assume you are talking about Boxer? Tranche 1 was for 523 vehs and Kongsberg RS4 was ordered which can only take a MG/GMG or A/T weapon. Tranche 2 is for 100 vehs and it is unknown what weapon system any of those will have. There should be further tranches as the army needs far more than 623 Boxers. The army staff were supposedly looking at options to increase Boxer lethality in a study that commenced around March/April last year!! No idea what they have concluded. US will field Booker M10 (described as an assault gun/vehicle or fire… Read more »

Sam
Sam (@guest_822062)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You’d think they need to at least double that with the number of vehicles going out of service by 2030.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822087)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Boxer is replacing Warrior and FV430s – so it should be about 1360 or so Boxers to be ordered in total.

Trouble is that its about the most expensive APC in the world so they’ll probably order fewer than is needed – its happened before.

Sam
Sam (@guest_822092)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sounds about right. And the glacial current build rate means it would take 20 years to do so at current build speeds.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_823783)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I wonder if they still have aspirations to replace Mastiffs as well?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_823871)
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Great question. I don’t think so:

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/iav-2024-british-army-outlines-procurement-plans-for-land-mobility-programme

What is interesting is that Jane’s says that a PM veh will replace Bulldog, rather than Boxer.

Sam
Sam (@guest_821985)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

They have shown an Overwatch version with Brimstone already.

Sam
Sam (@guest_821986)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Of Boxer that is.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_821772)
1 month ago

Gulp- the cost per vehicle is something else. £4billion for 470+ vehicles- that’s £8.5 million each- pretty pricey for an armoured vehicle. For context the most advanced battle tanks in the world right now with APS are South Korean K2 black panther (Ajax is more expensive by £1.2 million per vehicle) and Merkava Mk 4- (same price as Ajax) meaning we could have bought 470 top of the line new MBTs for the same price as this programme. I know which vehicle has the best survival chances and delivers the hardest punch to the army and its not the Ajax.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_821783)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

So you would have spent the money on tanks and then have to find more money to spend on a recce vehicle the army wants!

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_821789)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

That does seem like an extraordinary amount of money!

Is that the projected costs, prior to the many bumps in the road, or does it include the fu#k up costs too?

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_821806)
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Fixed contract price of £5.5b.

David Owen
David Owen (@guest_821809)
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

It bloody frightening and screw ups have cost us (the taxpayer)a lot of money ,where does it stop ?i know research isn’t cheap but I hope to hell it has been worth it ,well in invest in a fleet of transit vans ,stick armour on it ,a gun of some sort ,recruitment of pikeys for these new lethal weapons and minimal cost to the tax payer ,GENERAL DYNAMICS BEAT THAT FOR PRICE 😆 🤣 😂

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_821824)
1 month ago
Reply to  David Owen

It really hasn’t has it? It is late granted but it is a fixed price contract!all the f@ck up costs have been covered by GD.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_821911)
1 month ago
Reply to  David Owen

Not sure buying foreign would be a more acceptable idea. 😇

David Owen
David Owen (@guest_821965)
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

True ,get vauxhall to build them in Liverpool, home grown ,value for money ,give them to the 1st scouser division ,40 to a van ,just think of the savings 🤔 😀 👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_822248)
1 month ago
Reply to  David Owen

😆

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_821886)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Recce vehicles are a waste of space. Advance to contact and its WW1 from then on. No glorious charge to Moscow or anywhere else for that matter. Bin the lot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822335)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

Very amusing. You especially need armoured recce vehicles in an Advance to Contact, of course.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_823748)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

No Jacko. I’m putting the massive cost of the programme so far into a context to demonstrate just how ludicrous the waste has been. A scout CV90 version with perhaps 90-95% the capability of Ajax would have cost £1.6- 1.8 billion for the same number of vehicles. So we have definitely over paid for this capability. That overpayment robs funding from other programmes, for example upgrading all C2s to C3 standard and fitting them all with Trophy APS from the word go, or getting additional Archer 155mm guns…or any other urgent requirement for the British Army. I know in the… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_823782)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Just done some rough costing CV90 approx £7.6m that works out to again approx £4.5b for the amount of vehicles we have on order,take into account fitting out with our own kit we would want in them I don’t suppose the figures would be that far apart.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_823784)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Just read the RA are getting another 10 Archers, thereby giving them a total of 24 systems. The extra 10 will be new builds.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_823842)
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The AS90 hasn’t actually left service yet either,1 RHA have them in Estonia for at least 9 months.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_821812)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

It is an expensive piece of kit. But the current price for new MBTs is much higher than the figures you quote. A new Leopard 2 A7 was > £12 m in 2016 Norway has recently ordered 54 for double that price. The Polish contract for 180 SK K2 tanks is $3.4b or @£15 m apiece.
It’s no wonder defence budgets are so stretched.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821874)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Ajax is a recce vehicle, not a MBT. I don’t follow the logic of your comparison.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_823749)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

see my reply above. I am NOT saying we should have an MBT doing a recce vehicle job. I am simply stating we have overpaid for this programme and should have bought CV90 scout version off the shelf for <half the price of Ajax, that overpayment for Ajax has robbed funding for other urgently required British Army programmes.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_823868)
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Thanks for the clarification. I agree that we should have bought CV90 scout/recce …..for a whole host of reasons, not just the price.

Paul
Paul (@guest_821811)
1 month ago

Absolute disgrace! There should be a public enquiry into how this contract was awarded……

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_821840)
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

I don’t think it was the down select or contract award that was the issue, in fact being fixed price has worked out well. And as much as many folks argue that the CV90 was a better option, the US Army has also gone for an ASCOD derivative for the M10 Booker. It’s based on the Griffin III which is one of the 2 competing designs to replace the Bradley IFV. It uses the Ajax as the baseline design rarer than go back to the original ASCOD. As far as I am aware the problem was that the Army kept… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_823787)
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

As was one of the ones voting for Archer. I have with caution changed my mind and now voting for Boxer RCH. The obvious reason is as you said better logistical commonality with the rest of the Boxer fleet. But there are two other reasons. The first is the ability to fire on the move. Where it can either land multiple shots in the same target when moving. Or it can engage multiple targets whilst on the move. I do t believe there any other SPG that can do this, Archer included. The second is the gun. The RCH uses… Read more »

cjh
cjh (@guest_821849)
1 month ago

Isn’t it about time that Politicians knock their heads together and decide on a much better way to spend our taxes on defence? As an interested party – I pay tax – I do not understand why Contractors are given a blank chequebook to over run on virtually all projects? Do shareholders make a loss on any defence investments they hold? Do Senior Executives and Directors face salary cuts or lose bonus payments when a project fails, overruns or costs escalate? No? Wonder why? With public scrutiny now focussed on the debacles at Royal Mail Post Offices, Rail Franchises, Power… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_821912)
1 month ago
Reply to  cjh

They weren’t in this case as it was a fixed price contract, when GDLS hit problems with delivery MOD froze the payments until they fixed the issues. This one is actually an example of ensuring you only pay the agreed price and hold the contractor to account. Last year Babcock found out it couldn’t build the T31 for the agreed contractual price due to inflation. It seems they either under bid, didn’t leave a margin for cost creep or a combination of both. They ended up in arbitration and as MOD need the Frigates we stumped up extra cash. However… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_821882)
1 month ago

Wow so we could have had another 6 t26 frigates or 3 SSNs or I QE class carrier. Crazy money and for what? Other Nato countries have these types of vehicles but none other has the ships the RN has or needs.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_821914)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

For what? Re equipping 4 Regiments of the RAC and sub units of several other Regiments and Battalions from other arms and services, that’s what.
CVRT needed replacing and this was their choice.
I’m not keen on how the program has been run or the price, but I believe in the capability of the vehicle.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_821978)
1 month ago

I’m sorry I just dont believe there is a place on the battlefield for them. You dont see them with the IDF.

Dern
Dern (@guest_821993)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

The IDF don’t have Frigates, SSN’s or QE class carriers either.
(Never mind that there are plenty of NATO countries that have invested in their Frigates, Submarines and Carriers alongside us. Italy leaps to mind).

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822098)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

You don’t think the IDF have recce vehicles??

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_823789)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

Perhaps, but they do use the Namer in a recce role. Namer is the APC/IFV version of the Merkava. It doesn’t have the same sensor or network capabilities that Ajax brings to the party.

Israel also use their armoured D9 bulldozers in an advance to contact role. As it can smash through barricades and obstructions. But then Israel has predominantly fought in the urban environment for the last 30 years.

Sam
Sam (@guest_821990)
1 month ago

This. Our entire armoured vehicle fleet needs replacing.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822338)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

It is being replaced!

Sam
Sam (@guest_822342)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep, albeit very slowly.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822097)
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonno

It is never a choice between modern recce/strike vehicles for the army (replacing 60 year old vehicles OR buying some more kit for the RN.

Sam
Sam (@guest_822108)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Can’t believe the Fv432 is 60 and still going.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822980)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

It is incredible, and shameful.

It’s like the RAF would still be flying the Jaguar and the F-4 Phantom, the RN would still be flying the Sea Vixen, and sailing the Leander-class frigate and County-class Destroyers and operating Oberon-class submarines.

…and all because the Treasury did not fund enough Warrior variants.

Sam
Sam (@guest_823057)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, hope the same mistake doesn’t happen with Boxer.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_823792)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

India still fly Jags. It’s getting a major upgrade, as they’re looking to fit it with radar. It has also had ASRAAM integrated on it. Which will come as a major shock for Pakistan (China) if things kick off again.

English Brigadier
English Brigadier (@guest_821883)
1 month ago

Should have gone with CV90 and set up a production line in the UK 25 years ago.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_821915)
1 month ago

Yes, quite possibly.
But they didn’t, so here we are. Hindsight is a fine thing.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_822057)
1 month ago

Morning M8 I do wonder what’s next after Ajax and Boxer ? Do they shut the production lines again or build something else ? Regardless of what the Army say I think they still need a Tracked IFV for use where the wheeled Boxer isn’t suitable. I actually think that Boxer and Ajax aren’t bad choices and either one has tracked IFV iterations which could be produced as follow on orders. Tracked Boxer would an interesting choice as it shares the modules with wheeled Boxer and the RCH 155 is one of those. That’s a pretty neat and cost effective… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_822065)
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Morning mate.
It would. Buy 5 Battalions worth, or 6, as I hate 12 and 20 Bdes not being identical! Just my ordered OCD mind.
Some of the wheeled Boxer could then outfit 7 Bde, while whatever PMV they choose goes to 4.
And we’d have infantry for a large part who are no longer on foot!

Sam
Sam (@guest_822066)
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

Production lines will open for Boxer for 20 years at current build rates.

They need over a 1000 and they’re replacing a lot of different vehicle types.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822330)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Last info I had confirmed a very slow build rate of Boxer. It was said a couple of years ago that it would be one a week. Hopefully it can be brought up to a much higher figure.

Sam
Sam (@guest_822336)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes mate, the last I saw was 5 a month so that’s very similar.

That must increase if it’s going to be viable.

Especially as they’re now using a variant for the AS-90 replacement and potentially even other tasks in future such as replacing Alvis Stormer.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822789)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Viable is a good word. Boxer’s design is already 25 years old. If we are still receiving Boxers in 20 years time, the design then will be 45 years old!!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822329)
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

I think the Army would also say they need a tracked IFV, which is why they put a Requirements document together for a Warrior upgrade.
It is politicians that have cancelled WCSP, not agreed to buying a new IFV and so moved Boxer to the armoured brigades.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_821921)
1 month ago

If only we’d went for CV90.But we didn’t and I believe Ajax is starting to show signs of improvement and there’s no looking back now ,money been spent long gone so he’s hoping Ajax be comes a winner 🙏

Sam
Sam (@guest_822022)
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes. It should achieve IOC by next year.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822126)
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I would still like to hear the reasons (officially) as to why GDUK’s ASCOD 2 derivative, rather than BAE’s CV90 Recce variant, was selected.

Sam
Sam (@guest_822129)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

There was very much an anyone but BAE culture at the time, based on a lot of reports.

It would be interesting to see what the official line was/is.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822981)
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

I certainly heard that the ‘anyone but BAE’ line was a view held by many politicos and senior civil servants, but not from senior officers, of course.

BAE products for the army were largely good, relatively speedily delivered, fair VfM, and with good after-sales support.

Sam
Sam (@guest_823131)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes, I don’t understand it either.

It ends up costing much more money long term and leads to long delays in replacement vehicles.

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_822259)
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No idea but it’s hard to challenge the decision when the US Army come to a similar conclusion after a very long process and CV90 was eliminated at an earlier stage. The M10 Booker is based on Ajax and the Griffin III IFV version is going into the down select with Rheinmetal Lynx. Bradley replacement !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_822332)
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

M10 Booker is based on ASCOD 2 Ulan or Pizarro IFV, not on Ajax. Ajax was developed from the same source vehicle though.