Trials £5.5 billion Ajax armoured vehicles are halted for SECOND time
Trials of Britain’s new £5.5 billion Ajax armoured vehicles are halted for SECOND time because they are too noisy for their crews
- Ministry of Defence said Ajax trials have been suspended over noise concerns
- Crews have reportedly suffered nausea, swollen joins and tinnitus during trials
- Vehicles are billed as ‘fully digital’ and ‘the next generation of armoured vehicle’
- Safety investigation has been launched and is expected to conclude by August
Trials of the £3.2 billion Ajax armoured vehicle programme have been halted for a second time over complaints about noise affecting the crew.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said ‘all Ajax trials have been suspended’ following renewed concern about the issue.
Defence minister Jeremy Quin acknowledged the programme – which could eventually cost taxpayers up to £5.5 billion – was ‘troubled’.
The vehicles, built by General Dynamics, are billed as ‘fully digital’ and the ‘next generation of armoured vehicles’.
But trials were halted for four months to March after crews reportedly suffered nausea, swollen joints and tinnitus.
Trials of the £3.2 billion Ajax armoured vehicle programme have been halted for a second time
Testing resumed with ‘mitigations’ in place but has now been halted again.
Mr Quin said: ‘This long-running troubled programme requires ongoing intense work by our industrial partners and ourselves to ensure its delivery.
‘In achieving this, the safety of our personnel will always come first.’
The MoD’s top mandarin has launched a thorough safety investigation, working with General Dynamics, which is expected to conclude at the end of July.
Officials insisted the MoD remained committed to the Ajax programme.
Mr Quin faced questions about Ajax from MPs on June 8 and said the MoD was looking at two headsets to help address the noise problems, although he admitted that would not get to the ‘root cause’ of the issues, which he suggested could be mechanical or electronic.
Earlier this month, it was reported the government has ordered more than 580 of the tanks in a range of US-designed models which are being built in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.
But as of June 8, only 14 without turrets had been delivered because the project has been beset by delays and problems.
A leaked internal report claimed the machine were unable to travel safely faster than 20 miles per hour – half the 40mph top speed, and crew members were suffering noises so loud that it made them feel sick.
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