British Armored Vehicle Ajax's Last Chance Mission

For several months, the Ajax armored vehicle program for the British armed forces has faced much criticism, after major technical problems were revealed in the press across the Channel, and several hundred soldiers were injured by the guns. Very high vibrations and sound level inside the armored vehicle when it is moving. The authorities have a procrastination of time, not knowing how to define whether the program should be continued, in an attempt to correct the sometimes crippling faults observed, or stopped outright. Finally, the decision of the future of the program has been entrusted to the director of program deliveries of the Ministry of Defense, David Marsh, in a mission letter sent to him on October 1.

Thus, the engineer recognized for his rigor through his 30 years of experience in the technical division of the British Ministry of Defense, was entrusted with the mission of redefining a robust action plan in order to pursue the program development and resume deliveries, on the basis of a controlled schedule and guaranteed viability. If, however, such objectives could not be reasonably achieved, the latter was given a mandate to suspend, and if necessary, cancel the program altogether, this option being specifically included in the engagement letter made public by the Ministry of Defense. In other words, David Marsh is in charge of piloting the mission of the last chance for the Ajax program, but also of clearing the political authorities by a technical and moral guarantee if the program of 5,5 billion pounds and 589 vehicles armored vehicles had to be canceled.

Despite the great ambitions of the Ajax program, the future of the tank is now in the hands of one man across the Channel.

The mere fact of delegating such an important decision, both from a budgetary and operational point of view, is in itself exceptional, and does not bode well for Ajax's future. Indeed, if the program had accessible and obvious solutions at its disposal, there is little doubt that the Ministry of Defense, and its Secretary Ben Wallace, would have kept control of the project, if only at purposes of political communication, while the government of Boris Johnson has made the reconstruction of British military power a strong marker of the regained independence of Great Britain on the international scene following Brexit, as France was able to do bitter experience with the Australian case. The choice of a moral and technical authority, with a mission letter thus formulated, suggests that the chances that the program will actually come to an end are now very reduced.


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