Ground Warfare

British Army Resumes Training on Ajax Armoured Fighting Vehicle

General Dynamics Land Systems UK Ajax Armoured Fighting Vehicle
General Dynamics Land Systems UK Ajax Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Units of the British Field Army have restarted training on the Ajax vehicles this week, highlighting continued progress in the programme. Focused on individual and crew training, this step will mark the restarting of British Army training on the sophisticated vehicles. Conducted in Bovington and Bulford on the initial production standard of Ajax vehicles – Capability Drop 1 – this training will enable troops to learn how to operate the armoured vehicles and use the systems integrated into them. The training will also enable the crew to develop skills and experience with the vehicles before delivery of the later Capability Drop 3 vehicles, which will be fully deployable.

44 vehicles at Capability Drop 1 have been delivered to the British Army, while a busy production line in South Wales manufactures the Capability Drop 3 vehicles that will provide the British Army with a battle-winning edge. Boosting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy, the main Ajax contracts supports a UK-wide supply chain of more than 230 UK-based companies and more than 4,000 jobs throughout the UK, including a large number in South Wales. Delivering a step-change in the surveillance and reconnaissance capability for the Army, with its suite of cutting-edge sensors, enhanced 40mm cannon, modular armour, and improved cross-country range and mobility, the programme will deliver 6 variants, totalling 589 vehicles that will allow the Army to operate in all weathers, 24 hours a day.

General Dynamics Land Systems UK Ajax Armoured Fighting Vehicle
General Dynamics Land Systems UK Ajax Armoured Fighting Vehicle. (Photo by British Army)

Visiting Bovington Camp in the south west of England – where soldiers are currently training on the Ajax vehicles – Defence Minister James Cartlidge recently met with soldiers taking part in the Reliability Growth Trials that resumed earlier this year and instructors who were about to start training the Army. Through Reliability Growth Trials, AJAX, APOLLO, ATLAS and ARES variants have driven more than 6,600 kilometres through different terrains, completing a variety of representative battlefield tasks such as operating across a range of speeds, firing weapon systems, using the vehicles systems and communications and completing specialist tasks such as vehicle recoveries and repairs using the integrated crane.

Earlier this year, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) also confirmed the resumption of payments to General Dynamics for the 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. A robust firm price contract remains for the delivery of the 589 vehicles, which will ensure that General Dynamics are incentivised to deliver against agreed outcomes. As such, the whole programme remains within its originally approved budget level and the Department has worked collaboratively and constructively with General Dynamics to achieve this.

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