The British Army’s Ajax program has “gone a long way” and no folding machine has been delivered so far, according to report by the Public Accounts Commission (PAC).
In a report entitled “Armored Vehicles: The Ajax Program”, the commission concluded that the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) was failing to meet the army’s needs for surveillance and intelligence capabilities.
Ajax is an armored combat vehicle program that launched in 2010 and aims to equip the military with its first fully digitalized platform.
The program, which is several years behind schedule, included the delivery of six variants of advanced armored vehicles capable of performing a number of roles.
A contract was signed with General Dynamics Land Systems UK for the program. The company has been awarded a fixed-price contract of £ 5.5 billion to design, manufacture and maintain 589 vehicles.
By December 2021, the Ministry of Defense had paid £ 3.2 billion to the vehicle design company, produced 324 hulls and assemblies and tested 143 vehicles.
However, so far only 26 have been delivered and for training purposes only. These Ajax vehicles have unresolved issues such as excessive noise and vibration levels.
Ajax was originally expected to be operational in 2017, but the target was missed and revised for June 2021. The program is now more than a year behind schedule.
The Ministry of Defense has no idea when the concerns will be addressed and when Ajax will be operational. The department also recently commissioned a QC-led review of lessons learned from Ajax.
In the report, the PAC told the MoD to “fix or fail” the program.
Meg Hillier, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “The MoD has made fundamental mistakes in planning and managing this project. The Ajax tank program has been deeply flawed from the outset and the PAC now seriously doubts that it can be recovered within existing costs and trade agreements.
“As long as the MoD has to fix or fail this program, before more risk to our national security and more billions of taxpayers’ money is wasted.
“These repeated failures in the Ministry of Defense are burdening older capabilities that are overdue for replacement and directly threaten the safety of our employees and their ability to defend the nation and fulfill NATO’s commitments.