The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly confirmed that it had halted trials of its new $4.92bn (£3.47bn) fleet of Ajax armoured fighting vehicles.

The Daily Telegraph reported citing a leaked government report that the reasons are related to the vehicle’s design, speed and safety problems.

The report said that the army tanks’ trial versions are not able to cruise faster than 20mph, which is half of the intended speed of the vehicle.

Soldiers are also suffering from loud noises caused by the vehicles and are unable to reverse over obstacles as high as 20cm or more.

The report is due to be published next month, according to the publication.

An MoD spokesperson said in a statement: “We are committed to the Ajax programme, which will form a key component in the army’s modernised war-fighting division, with current plans for initial operating capability scheduled for summer 2021.

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“The MoD can confirm some training on the Ajax family of vehicles was paused as a precautionary measure. This is a normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects.

“An investigation, incorporating trials, is being carried out jointly with the manufacturer. It is inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.

“The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are committed to providing a safe working environment.”

The spokesperson added that training has resumed on Ajax models ‘with appropriate safety measures in place’ after a brief pause.

A total of 589 vehicles across six variants were ordered for the British Army, of which 245 will be the turreted Ajax variant.

However, the programme is now four years behind schedule.