General Dynamics Land Systems–UK welcomed Harriet Baldwin MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, and Guto Bebb MP, Minister for the UK Government in Wales, on their first visit to the company’s new armoured vehicle facility in Merthyr Tydfil for an update on the AJAX programme today.
The Ministers took the opportunity to meet the General Dynamics Land Systems–UK manufacturing team and toured the facility, which is continuing to undergo significant investment to prepare it for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) of AJAX platforms.
They also saw first-hand the initial two ARES production vehicles, which are currently undergoing Government Acceptance Testing (GAT), and discussed wider programme progress. In particular, the Ministers were updated on the five-month industry manned live firing phase of the AJAX programme, which started in early September and will test the performance of CTA International 40mm (CT40) cannon, Chain Gun and Smoke Grenade Launchers onboard the AJAX variant.
The Ministers were also updated on the broad spectrum of AJAX programme trials, across the different prototype platforms, undertaken by General Dynamics Land Systems–UK in recent months. These trials include altitude-climatic, air deployability, littoral fording and driver training.
During their tour, Minister Baldwin and Bebb were given a demonstration of the capabilities of the ARES platforms by an on-site team from Army Headquarters, who are conducting the GAT on behalf of the British Army and the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said:
“I am delighted to see the ARES in action. This vehicle, and the others in the AJAX family, will give the British Army a multi-role, mounted fighting power and reconnaissance capability fit for the future. We continue to invest in the best equipment for our Armed Forces, and I’m delighted to support such strong investment in Wales.”
Guto Bebb MP, Minister for the UK Government in Wales, said:
“The defence and security industry continues to be vital to the health of the Welsh economy. As a key supplier to the Ministry of Defence, General Dynamics ensures that it, and its skilled workforce, are playing a significant part in providing first-class protection and support to the brave individuals working in a variety of front line situations around the world.”
Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems–UK, said:
“We were delighted to welcome Ministers Baldwin and Bebb to our facility in Merthyr Tydfil to update them on the AJAX programme, as well as showcase the significant investment we have made in the facility, working closely with local businesses from across the Merthyr area. In particular, I am happy that the Ministers were able to meet with our employees, especially our apprentices who, in the short time they have been with us, have already made a positive difference to our company.”
The range of AJAX variants will allow British Army ‘Strike Brigades’ to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. They will operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.