As the brickbats and blame game subsides as to the cause of the delays in the British Army’s flagship Ajax armoured vehicle programme, clearly, given the exposure to the vehicle at this year’s DSEI, those days are in the past and Ajax is getting ready for an Initial Operating Capability (IoC) at the end of 2024.
“We are on track for IoC in 2024,” a GDLS UK spokesman told BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold. “We have solved the initial vibration issues and the Mobility Trials were concluded last year to the satisfaction of the user. The firing trials, where we have fired the over 10,000 rounds including on the move and at moving targets will conclude at the end of the month. To prove the concept of target hand over using the network, the Army will conduct demonstrations throughout DSEI.”
There will be 4 Ajax vehicles on display – two AJAX in the VIP Suite, one AJAX on the Army stand with a Crew Turret trainer, and an ARES variant in the Capital Suite.
GDLS UK gave the Editor an update on the Production schedule:
All 6 variants have been produced: APOLLO Engineer Support – Repair, ATLAS Engineer Support – Recovery, ARGUS Engineer Reconnaissance and ATHENA Command and Control, ARES protected mobility reconnaissance support and AJAX recce. 143 turrets have been delivered by Lockheed Martin out of a total of 245 on time and on schedule. 3 out of the four variants of ammunition, HE, Training and AP have been supplied with the Airburst not a contracted capability at this time.
There are over 200 Ajax vehicles built, including 44 in service with the Household Cavalry Regiment
“The next stage will be the Reliability Growth Trials which started in February and will continue for 12 months to the Third Quarter of 2024,” GDLS UK told the Editor. “We expect to conclude the contract to deliver all 589 vehicles by late 2027.”
As well as the vehicles GDLS UK has developed and built, in association with Dstl, the three armour packages. These are: The Training Armour kit, the Major Combat Operations kit and the Peace Support kit which includes the belly plate. A range of trials have been conducted using these kits.
As well as Ajax, GDLS UK will feature a 10 tonne flatbed variant of the Foxhound vehicle for the Land Mobility Programme with a view to reopening the Foxhound line.
“Conversations are ongoing with the Army to discuss new variants of Foxhound to complement the 400 already in service in a number of variants, Patrol, C2, and the Flatbed and WMIK variants.” GDLS UK told the Editor.
In addition, GDLS will be showing their larger TRX UGV, in addition to the MUTT which has been on trials with the British army since 2019 and has been chosen for the US SMET Programme.