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UK military spending review   General Military Discussion

Started 13/3/21 by autogun; 16176 views.

From: renatohm


At this point, sucking up and dropping would be less embarrassing than going on, and potentially cheaper and faster too.

Ajax has had quite a lot of issues already.


From: autogun


From (extracts):

Responding to questions from Defense News, General Dynamics Land Systems UK has given a breakdown of its progress in producing Ajax at its factories in Wales and Spain as part of a firm-priced deal with the British signed in 2014 to produce 589 vehicles at a cost of up to £5.5 billion (€6.5 billion or U.S. $7.6 billion).

“As of 1 September 2021, 20 percent of the Ajax fleet are built and have been delivered, or are pending delivery, to the British Army; a further 30 vehicles are undergoing assembly, integration and test (AIT) in Merthyr Tydfil [Wales] and 50 per cent of the 589 hulls are built,” said General Dynamics Land Systems UK.

Twenty-five vehicles were delivered to the British Army by June 2021, but have yet to be accepted into service due to a number of issues related to noise and vibration.

Ajax production is continuing, according to the company. All hulls for the Ajax are being fabricated and painted at the General Dynamics European Land Systems site at Trubia in Spain. Other elements of the Ajax build and test program have been initially centered on Spain for the first 100 vehicles but gradually switch to Merthyr Tydfil, where General Dynamics currently employs 350 people.

The problems with noise and vibration have pitched Ajax at the centre of a controversy here, with some issue experts comparing the procurement with the decision to cancel the Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft in 2010.

An uncertain future

Procurement minister Jeremy Quin has made two statements to Parliament regarding the problems with the Ajax family in a little over two months. Ajax vehicles should have been in service by now, but Quin told Parliament recently that until a long-term solution was found it was “not possible to determine a realistic timescale for declaration of initial operating capability or the later introduction of Ajax vehicles into operational service with the Army.” In June MoD officials reported the program had swallowed up £3.2 billion of the £5.5 billion set aside for Ajax. At least one Parliamentary Defence Committee member has called for the program’s cancellation. At one point the MoD halted trials work, and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace questioned whether the program had a future unless a solution could be found to the problems. One defense source, who asked not to be named, said that while Wallace was continuing to work with the contractor to fix the problems, safety issues for soldiers had remained a top priority. The defence secretary has continued to put pressure on General Dynamics to fix the problems. While our focus remains on working with General Dynamics for its delivery, the welfare of our personnel comes first,” said the source.

Several hundred personnel have had to undergo possible hearing and vibration injury tests related to the Ajax trials.

Scrambling for fixes

After having been halted, some trials have resumed using General Dynamics UK personnel rather than British Army crews. The MoD, along with General Dynamics, are now ramping up efforts to find a fix for the issues with the addition of another vehicle to the trials program crewed by the contractor. 

The current trials only relate to the noise and vibration issues, and broader testing of the vehicle remains on hold. Some moves are already being made in addressing the current shortcomings. For one, trials are being planned jointly by the MoD and General Dynamics to validate and verify the efficacy of proposed measures to reduce vibration. In addition, Quin said in his Oct. 18 statement that noise reduction efforts also continue with the
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From: autogun


From BBC News website, 3 June :

The government must either scrap or fix a troubled modern armoured vehicle programme - or risk compromising national security, a report has said.

A review of the Ajax project by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) concluded a "litany of failures" had led to the years-long delays.

So far no operational vehicles have been delivered, despite the 12-year-old project already costing over £3bn.

The new reconnaissance vehicle was supposed to enter service in 2017.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it agreed with many of the recommendations and was taking steps to address them.

It added that any further delays would not be paid for by the taxpayer, due to the fixed price contract of £5.5bn agreed with a US weapons manufacturer. 

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From: graylion


scrap it and buy Lynx or K-21


From: DavidPawley


They won’t though.


From: graylion


DavidPawley said:

They won’t though.

Nimrod AEW.1

Nimrod R.4




From: DavidPawley


No, they won’t replace it, not they won’t scrap it.

Nimrod R.4.

Sentinel R.1



From: graylion


R.4 was replaced by P-8?


From: PRM2


Bearing in mind this isn't an aircraft forum, I'll stick to some brief observations about the Nimrod AEW3 and MRA4 (there are good summaries on Wikipedia).

On the Nimrod AEW3, it was apparent from the very start that the platform was too small for the task and although when it worked it was very good, it just wasn't reliable enough. Without doubt the best decision made was to cancel it and buy the AWACS instead, despite the injury to national pride.

The Nimrod MRA4 was also compromised from the start due to different reasons, but could have been made to work.

Originally the RAF was going to adopt the US P7 in the 1990s, however the cancellation of the P7 left a gap with rapidly ageing Nimrod MR2s. The MRA4 was meant to just be an avionics/mission systems update with minimal airframe change and was originally called the 'Nimrod 2000', as this was the overly ambitious date to get the aircraft into service.

Things got much more complicated when the Rolls Royce BR710 engine was selected (a British aircraft must have a British engine!), as an engine of that diameter wouldn't fit into the existing wing root and therefore the wing had to be enlarged. This caused a massive amount of unplanned work and arguably resulted in an unbalanced aircraft (a bit like what has also happened with the 737 Max). Ultimately almost every system on the aircraft was also changed, resulting in a aircraft that was just entering service in 2010 when it was cancelled in the 2010 Defense spending review.

What is not often stated is that Boeing Military Aircraft did a fantastic job on the MRA4 Mission System, which just worked, and must have helped with the development of the P8, the irony being that the UK has probably paid for the same capability again on the P8.

The MRA4 in 2010 still had issues to resolve, but it was a very capable machine with excellent range, endurance and payload, due to the efficient engines and enlarged wing. It could also carry a lot more ordnance than the P8 in its large bomb bay and underwing. The UK decided to take a 'capability holiday' from fixed wing maritime tasking which is now finally being being met by purchase of the P8. Hopefully the P8 is sufficiently robust for low level operation in severe weather conditions, which is still required for effective anti-submarine work.


From: RovingPedant


Foreword - I fell foul of the forum arrangement and have picked on a message a year ago. Still... 

DavidPawley said...

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.

Why would the BBC mention that? Surely they'd need a credible source?

Even so, a year ago there were ~60 turrets delivered

DavidPawley said...

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.


Some of them, maybe, but equally the latest report (25th May 2022) is saying things like:

The Department has also found that the headsets worn by crews—which the Army uses on all armoured vehicles—did not provide expected levels of protection. It will start upgrading its headsets from August 2022

While an earlier report (HS&EP Ajax Noise and Vibration Review) notes that additional sources of noise and vibration come from running gear, engine and quality control issues.

DavidPawley said...

The LAND400 project team was right to reject the Ajax proposal as unfit for purpose.

Possibly, but we don't know their reasons and if they are the same.