General Dynamics Land Systems UK has conducted initial air portability trials for Ajax vehicles being developed for the British Army.
Carried out at Royal Air Force's (RAF) Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) in Brize Norton, the trials validated the prototype platform of Ares, Ajax's armoured personnel carrier variant.
During the trials, the Ares platform was loaded into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III and A400M Atlas aircraft.
The Ares, which will be used to transport troops across the battlefield, was driven onto real-size mock-ups of each aircraft.
The trials were conducted to ensure that the Ajax vehicles can be quickly transported to support the British Army worldwide.
General Dynamics Land Systems UK vice-president Kevin Connell said: "The Ajax programme continues to make excellent progress during this trials period, with these successful trials following quickly on the back of early live fire trials in April."
According to the company, the first British Army squadron will take delivery of the armoured fighting vehicle by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin and a brigade to be deployed by the end of 2020.
UK Defence Equipment and Support organisation chief of materiel (Land) lieutenant general Paul Jaques said: "Ajax is the biggest armoured vehicle programme for a generation for the British Army.
"These trials mark significant progress in the programme; it is essential that these fully-digitised fighting vehicles, which will sit at the heart of the UK's agile Strike Brigades, can be deployed at short notice worldwide to protect the UK and our interests."
Image: During the trials, the Ares prototype platform was loaded into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III and A400M Atlas aircraft. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics UK.