Will the British Army have to abandon the Ajax armored program?

In the mid-90s, the British Army set out to replace its Scorpion, Scimitar, Spartan and Sultan tracked reconnaissance and specialist armored vehicles in service since the early 70s, which were beginning to clearly mark the weight of the years in a changing environment. fast. However, it was not until 2010 that, as part of the Future Rapid Effect System program, the British Ministry of Defense decided in favor of Lockheed-Martin's Scout SV, to the chagrin of BAe and his CV90, which already won a real success in Europe. Derived from the ASCOD model designed jointly by Spain and Austria, the Scout SV had to be ordered by London in more than 1000 units in 5 versions and in two Batch. Finally, the final order signed in 2014 was for 588 armored vehicles for £ 5,5 billion, divided into 3 main versions: the Ajax armed reconnaissance vehicle (245 units), the Athena armored support vehicle (command), Ares (troop transport ) and Argus (engineering reconnaissance) in 256 copies, and 88 copies of the Apollo and Atlas versions of armored repair and recovery. The first deliveries were due in 2017, when 489 of the 588 armored vehicles were to be built in Great Britain.

Unfortunately, the program quickly found itself bogged down by a large number of technical problems, in particular concerning its transmission, causing it to take a significant delay, without however that does not panic the political and military leaders who assured the load. The situation changed dramatically in June 2021, when an article published in The Times exposed the many problems affecting the armored vehicles delivered to the British Army, forcing the latter to suspend deliveries from November 2020 to March 2021And then suspend them without a resumption date from the month of June. Indeed, during its tests, the armored vehicles were so noisy that the British Army had to prohibit its crews from staying on board the Ajax for more than 105 minutes, and to prohibit vehicles from exceeding 32 km / h. In addition, the vibrations in the armored vehicle were so excessive that they damaged on-board equipment, including electronic equipment, and prohibited the crew from using on-board weapons while in motion, a shame for a reconnaissance vehicle. armored vehicle supposed to represent the spearhead of the British armored strike force with its CT40 turret similar to that which equips the French and Belgian EBRC Jaguars.

The CV90 was designed by Sweden, and was presented by BAe against Lockheed-Martin's ASCOD as part of the Futur Rapid Effect System or FRES program.

Quickly, from a technological scandal, it turned into a political scandal, and all the more so since, according to the very admission of the British Minister of Defense Jeremy Quin, nothing guarantees to date that the defects observed on the Ajax can be effectively solved, notwithstanding the assurance given by the Ministry of Defense to devote itself to it as much as necessary. While it is today impossible to determine when (and if) Ajax will finally be operational, the British Army is now forced to study interim alternatives to ensure armored reconnaissance missions, such as the extension of its Warrior infantry fighting vehicles supposed to be replaced by the Rheinmetall Boxer, or even to employ some of the new Boxers, even if both were not designed and clearly lack the firepower to accomplish such a mission.


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