The Future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles
AJAX provides a step-change in the Armoured Fighting Vehicle capability being delivered to the British Army.
The AJAX programme includes six variants: AJAX, ARES, APOLLO, ATHENA, ATLAS and ARGUS. Each AJAX variant will be a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armoured fighting vehicle, providing British troops with state-of-the-art best-in-class protection/p>
AJAX vehicles are developed upon a highly-adaptable and capable Common Base Platform, maximising commonality in mobility, electronic architecture and survivability that ensures the British Army has a family of world-class platforms.
Each AJAX platform variant has extensive capabilities, including acoustic detectors, a laser warning system, a local situational awareness system, an electronic countermeasure system, a route marking system, an advanced electronic architecture and a high performance power pack.
The AJAX family of vehicles has growth inherently built in. With an upper design limit of 42 tonnes of driveline capability, scalable and open electronic architecture and a modular armour system, it has enormous potential to combat future threats and incorporate new technology throughout the lifespan of the platform.
As a result, AJAX provides the kind of growth capability that the user will need to face the uncertain challenges of Future Force 2020 and beyond. AJAX will replace the less capable CVR(T), providing broad utility throughout the balanced Army 2020 force across all operations.
In September 2014, General Dynamics UK was awarded £3.5 billion to deliver 589 AJAX platforms to the British Army. In July 2015, it was awarded a further £390 million contract to provide in-service support for the AJAX fleet until 2024.
In addition, the Company announced that it is opening a new Armoured Fighting Vehicle Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility in South Wales.
For noting: The AJAX programme was originally known as the SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) programme. It was renamed at DSEI on 15 September 2015.
The AJAX variant
AJAX will be the medium weight core of the British Army’s deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability. It enables the soldier to be at the point of collection of accurate all-weather commander information within a network-enabled digitised platform.
It provides commanders with a survivable and capable Ground Mounted Manned Reconnaissance (GMMR) platform, which gives them the flexibility to perform a range of roles across the spectrum of conflict.
The primary role of AJAX is to provide accurate and timely information to support decision making at all levels. It integrates a range of leading edge technologies to provide an optimised survivable, lethal and agile ISTAR platform.
The panoramic Primary Sight provides advanced all-weather imaging technology capability, which allows the AJAX variant to find, engage and target at far greater ranges than the current UK Ministry of Defence core legacy platforms.
A sophisticated, neatly packaged Electronic Architecture makes it the first fully-digitised land platform that is able to seamlessly integrate both current and future open system ISTAR and communication products.
Enhanced and modular survivability technologies ensure it will survive both current and future threats. Lethality is provided by the 40mm cannon integrated into a revolutionary, user-defined, fightable turret. Where the operation dictates, a fully stabilised Remote Weapons Station can be fitted to the turret instead of the Primary Sight.
Progress so far
- In December 2012, the programme passed its first major design point, the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). PDR is where the preliminary design of the AJAX family of vehicles was reviewed along with a review of the overall system maturity, risks and mitigations to confirm delivery planning enroute to Main Gate
- The Common Base Platform Critical Design Review (CDR) was completed in late 2013
- The overall PMRS variant CDR for the PMRS variant was completed in June 2014
- A rolling programme of CDR’s for all variants took place throughout 2014 and 2015
- The Mobile Test Rig (MTR) – the precursor to a prototype SV – has been put through an extensive series of trials. These included cold weather and Operational and Tactical (O&T) mobility trials, as well as Accelerated Life Testing (ALT). It has been providing significant chassis and driveline de-risking since June 2012
- First pre-production prototype, a PMRS variant was unveiled at DVD 2014
- On 3 September 2014, General Dynamics UK was awarded £3.5 billion to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army
- On 23 July 2015, General Dynamics UK was awarded a £390 million extended in-service support contract for the AJAX fleet
- In July 2015, the Company announced that it will open a new Armoured Fighting Vehicle Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility in South Wales
- On 15 September 2015, the SCOUT SV programme was renamed AJAX
- In September 2015, the first turreted AJAX prototype was unveiled at DSEI.
What next for AJAX?
- Further AJAX pre-production prototypes to be rolled-out through 2016
- Completion of UK Ministry of Defence Armoured Fighting Vehicle trials for all seven prototypes to be completed through 2015-2018
- 589 AJAX platforms to be delivered to the British Army through 2017-2024, along with the provision of in-service support and training
- The training establishment and first squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020