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24 Oct 2022

26 Ajax delivered even though they may never enter service

26 Ajax delivered even though they may never enter service
Originally posted on UKDJ by George Allison
26 Ajax vehicles have been delivered to the British Army amid remarks that the Ministry of Defence will “not accept a vehicle until it can be used safely for its intended purposes”.

Alec Shelbrooke, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, stated:

“26 Ajax vehicles have been delivered to the Army. It remains the case that until tests have been completed , it is not possible to say when Ajax will be in operational service. We will not accept a vehicle until it can be used safely for its intended purposes.”

MoD confirm they will ‘not accept’ Ajax until issues fixed

The Ministry of Defence say they “will not accept a vehicle until it can be used safely” and that they “cannot determine a realistic timescale for the introduction of Ajax into operational service”.

John Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Department’s Government Major Projects Portfolio Data 2022, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of delivering the Armoured Cavalry 2025 Ajax programme (a) on time and (b) on budget in the context of the Independent Projects Authority’s rating of that programme as red.”

Alec Shelbrooke, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“The Ministry of Defence continues to work with General Dynamics to resolve the noise and vibration problems on Ajax while protecting the taxpayers’ interests. As acknowledged by the Infrastructure Projects Authority the project remains within its approved budget and General Dynamics are required to deliver to the terms of the £5.5 billion firm-priced contract. We will not accept a vehicle until it can be used safely for its intended purposes and until long-term solutions to the noise and vibration problems have been found, we cannot determine a realistic timescale for the introduction of Ajax into operational service.”

Compensation paid out relating to the Ajax armoured vehicle

The total amount of compensation paid out as a result of claims related to issues with the troubled Ajax armoured vehicle is currently £12,320.

A Freedom of Information request asked the following:

“1) The total amount of compensation paid out to service personnel as a result of the issues with the Ajax AFV as of 16/08/2022. 

2) The total number of service personnel compensated as of 16/08/2022.”

The answer was as follows.

“In answer to question one, the total amount of compensation paid out under the Armed
Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) as a result of claims related to issues with Ajax is £12,320 as of 16 August 2022. In answer to question two, I can confirm less than five service personnel have been compensated as of 16 August 2022.

Under Section 16 Advice and Guidance, it may be helpful if I explain that the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) provides compensation for any injury, illness or death which is caused by service on or after 6 April 2005. It replaces the War Pension Scheme (WPS), which had been in place since 1917. Where the injury is partly caused or made worse by service, compensation is payable if, on the balance of probabilities service
is the predominant cause of the injury or of the worsening of the injury.”

The Ajax programme, which began in 2010, is intended to transform the Army’s surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

However, it has gone badly wrong, with no deployable vehicle delivered to date let alone providing Initial Operating Capability or Full Operating Capability dates, say the Public Accounts Committee in a report released earlier this year.

Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said that the government “must fix or fail this programme, before more risk to our national security and more billions of taxpayers’ money wasted”, adding “these repeated failures are putting strain on older capabilities which are overdue for replacement and are directly threatening the safety of our service people and their ability to protect the nation and meet Nato commitments”.

The report states that the Department (the Ministry of Defence) has a £5.5 billion firm-price contract with General Dynamics Land Systems UK for the design, manufacture and initial in-service support of 589 Ajax armoured vehicles.

You can read more on the report here.

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