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12 Aug 16. General Dynamics Land Systems-UK updates Chief of Materiel (Land) on AJAX Programme. General Dynamics Land Systems-UK welcomed Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quartermaster General, to its Merthyr Tydfil facility on Wednesday. Lt Gen Jaques toured the facility and was given an overview of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK’s plan for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) of AJAX platforms. He was also given a comprehensive update on the continued progress on the AJAX programme, including an in-depth update on the prototype trials programme. Earlier in the day, Lt Gen Jaques took the opportunity to see first-hand AJAX prototype platform trials at a test facility in West Wales. The AJAX and ARES prototypes are currently undertaking a range of trials, such as acoustics trials, ahead of further trials planned for later this year, including a formal firing programme, automotive and Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) trials. Speaking during his visit, Lt Gen Jaques said: “I am pleased to see first-hand today the significant, continued progress at the Merthyr Tydfil site. The AJAX programme demonstrates how the Ministry of Defence is working in partnership with industry to deliver state-of-the-art capabilities to the British Army and this facility highlights our commitment to that.”
Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lt Gen Jaques on his first visit to our Merthyr Tydfil facility. This facility firmly establishes Wales as the home of the UK’s Armoured Fighting Vehicle industry; and our excellent progress in capitalising the facility is mirrored by the AJAX programme trials, which continues to showcase the cutting-edge capability this platform will deliver to the British Army.”
The range of AJAX variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. It can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments. The first British Army squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.
11 Aug 16. China’s Type 96B MBT expected to replace PLA’s older tanks. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is likely to use the Type 96B main battle tank (MBT) as the pillar of its tank fleet, replacing most of its older models, the China Daily newspaper quoted military analysts as saying on 10 August.
Gao Zhuo, a Shanghai-based military observer who is in close contact with the PLA, told the paper that the “excellent capabilities of the Type 96B qualify it to be the backbone of China’s tank force”.
“The Type 96B is the strongest variant of the Type 96 family and is truly an advanced, third-generation MBT,” said Gao, adding that the PLA will use it to replace obsolescent tank models such as the Type 59 and Type 69.
China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), one of the country’s biggest military manufacturers, developed the Type 96B – a new variant of its Type 96 (ZTZ-96) MBT – in time to participate in this year’s Masters of Automobile and Tank Hardware competition, also known as the Tank Biathlon, at the Alabino training range in Moscow.
The PLA sent several Type 96B MBTs to take part in the tank competition, which is regarded as the most watched event in the Russia-hosted International Army Games.
By the end of last year the Chinese military had more than 7,000 tanks in active service, including about 2,000 Type 96s and Type 96As as well as about 600 Type 99s and Type 99As, meaning that the majority of the PLA’s armoured force is still equipped with tanks built several decades ago, China Daily quoted an