This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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Following the cancellation of the Warrior upgrade, it seems that the Ajax programme for a new family of tracked vehicles is also in deep trouble for technical reasons. Newspapers are reporting that the noise and vibration are so severe that they are affecting the health and fitness of the crews. As a result, maximum speed is limited to 20mph and even then, the gun cannot be fired accurately on the move.
Given the huge amount of time and money spent on this programme, it is astounding that these problems (which were apparently identified four years ago) have proved impossible to resolve. There are now suggestions that the entire Ajax programme might be scrapped.
If Ajax is cancelled, that will leave the only tracked AFV in the army's future being the (hopefully upgraded) Challenger tank. Fortunately, the new Boxer heavy 8x8 is modular and can be adapted to many roles, so presumably will be called on to cover the gap.
What this means for the 40 CTAI is unclear. Unless the turret can be fitted to Boxer, there is a distinct possibility that it will be cancelled, at least as far as the UK is concerned. The French are introducing a new 6x6 vehicle with a CTAI turret. Other reports I have read recently suggest that the British installations of the 40 CTAI is in trouble as well, because the MoD only specified the gun to be used and left it to the contractors to sort out the ammo feed arrangements - which is now revealing some incompatibilities. The French specified the CTAI ammo feed as well as the gun, so avoiding these problems.
You really couldn't make it up....
Lots of incompetence in military programs lately, not only in UK.
Look at the KC-46, for instance - what should be a relatively straightforward process, converting an airliner to a tanker, is being an incredibly troubled process, and just a few days ago it was revealed that the Pegasus has issues refueling the C-130 and A-10!
Several other programs further show that something is terribly wrong with military procurements lately - too much work on PowerPoint, too little on down to Earth.
Pains me to say it but the healthiest approach long term, IMO, is to let it fail. If the company goes under for lack of contract surety so be it, let them. The assets can be sold and put under new management. If not, then fines or other potential consequences such as ineligibility for next round of RFPs pending a satisfactory audit that measures have been taken to quantifiably identify and mitigate issues discovered in the process or approach to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again. There are so many off the shelf solutions that this should not even be a thing today, and the way business is done along with perverse incentives perpetuates this sort of behavior with the understanding that companies are too important or too big to fail and so there is no impetus to alter behavior that is detrimental to both the soldiers on the ground and the taxpayer.
Confirmation from Auntie Beeb, with the MoD saying exactly what you would expect them to say.
I am not in the slightest reassured or encouraged by their usual flannel.
Did the bbc mention that LM is closing the factory where the Ajax turret is made because of the WCSP cancellation?
GDLS has already declined to purchase the factory and maintain production. The turreted Ajax are de facto cancelled.
The NVH issues are due to the weight reduction demanded by MoD; the only fix is to redesign, adding the weight (~8 tonnes) back which can’t be done without breaching the contracted requirements.
The LAND400 project team was right to reject the Ajax proposal as unfit for purpose.
Was the the 8 tonne weight reduction demand due to either the design being over weight (Contractor Issue) or to a change in requirements from MoD (Customer Issue) ?
Oh boy. We are now well accustomed to defence projects running into difficulties involving long delays, large cost increases and capability reductions. But the interminable saga of the BA's AFVs seems to be well on the way to breaking all records.
It seems to be impossible simply to buy a proven vehicle and systems off the shelf (MOTS, I think it's called). They can't resist fiddling with the specification, and then look surprised as the project balloons out of control.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Boxer, since we have an unusual opportunity created by the fact that the UK withdrew from membership of the consortium years ago, and therefore had no opportunity to foul up its development. I'm not up to speed with how that project is going, but I hope that they are limited to just buying the thing.
Well - on one side, you get the MoD with its usual shenanigans. On the other, the fact that many companies these days are managed by accountants that expel the engineer corps because is too expensive, let's sub-contract for the cheapest price. also, QC is for losers (and expensive). just look at Boeing, for a good example.
When you add both cases (MoD and these types of companies) suddenly is easy to understand so many problems.