Positive progress has continued on the next phase of Ajax trials, with the U.K. Ministry of Defence confirming the revised in-service dates and resuming payments to General Dynamics for delivery of the programme. With an initial payment of £480 million, withheld since December 2020 due to challenges with noise and vibration, the MOD will resume payments to General Dynamics as the vehicles are scheduled to enter initial operating capability between July and December 2025. Assembled predominantly at General Dynamics in Merthyr Tydfil, 589 Ajax vehicles are due to be delivered to the British Army, bolstering the Army’s land-based reconnaissance capability. Reliability Growth Trials continue to progress well, testing the durability of the platform and components through a series of battlefield missions.
Delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country, the payment will cascade to the UK-wide supply chain of more than 230 companies, supporting more than 4,000 jobs throughout the UK, including hundreds in South Wales. Future payments will be made against the new schedule and its milestones, conditional on the delivery of compliant and deployable Ajax vehicles and continued progress of remaining trials activity. This follows the Defence Secretary’s visit to Bovington Camp last month, to see the ongoing trials.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith said:” I am pleased and excited to see AJAX progress through the Reliability and Growth Trials. Ajax is the heart of the Army’s modernisation programme, significantly enhancing our surveillance and strike capability.”
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “Having worked closely with General Dynamics to address the issues, I am pleased to say that we are making progress and are now on course to see the delivery of a suite of hundreds of battle-ready vehicles for the British Army.”
The Ajax, formerly known as the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle), is a group of armoured fighting vehicles being developed by General Dynamics UK for the British Army. It has suffered serious development and production difficulties. The Ajax is a development of the ASCOD armoured fighting vehicles used by the Spanish Armed Forces and Austrian Armed Forces. The vehicles were originally developed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug and Santa Bárbara Sistemas in the early 1990s. Both companies were purchased by General Dynamics in the early 2000s. In 2010, General Dynamics UK was selected as the winner of the Future Rapid Effect System contract with the ASCOD Common Base Platform, beating BAE Systems’ CV90 proposal.