The Ajax armoured fighting vehicle – an enduring sore spot in British Army procurement – has completed trials in debilitating weather conditions in Swedish Lapland.

Tests were carried out in the punishing, wintry conditions where temperatures dropped to temperatures as low as minus 38 degrees celsius.

While there were some “teething issues,” according to the gunner, Lance Corporal Alex McDonald, as there were some instances of slipping and sliding due to the rubber track pads, the platform still demonstrated it was capable of firing on the move with accuracy.

“These trials are a continuation from those that took place recently in the UK”, said Major Robert Gardner, Ajax Trials and Capability Development. “The tests have advanced from crews that have not fired the vehicle, to ‘static versus static’, firing approximately 120 rounds, moving on to ‘static versus moving’ and then finally proving ‘moving versus static’ whilst out here on the range in Tåme.”

Troubling background to Ajax acquisition

Costing £5.5bn ($7bn), it is the biggest single order for a UK armoured vehicle in more than 20 years and will replace the Army’s ageing fleet of tracked reconnaissance vehicles.

The Army is buying 589 vehicles across all six variants, which include reconnaissance (Ajax), personnel carrier (Ares), command and control (Athena), engineer reconnaissance (Argus), and recovery and repair vehicles (Atlas and Apollo).

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Excessive noise and vibration led to concerns for the health of personnel operating the vehicles in the past several years.

In 2021, the House of Commons Defence Committee described the history of the Army’s armoured fighting vehicle capability as “deplorable.” In 2022, the Public Accounts Committee judged that the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) management of the Ajax programme was “flawed from the outset”, and the National Audit Office said the Government had “not managed the programme effectively, warning the programme “faces significant challenges”.

Ajax looking forward

The vehicle’s entry into service has been repeatedly delayed under MoD management.

In January 2022, Ajax was still short of initial operating capability (IOC), with less than 25% of vehicles built.

In March 2023, the former Minister for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk, announced a new in-service date of 2025, with full operating capability expected between late 2028 and 2029.

The trial completion – proving the vehicles operational validation in a range of global environments – indicates the Army’s efforts in closing in on IOC within the next year or so.