Ajax armoured vehicle trials paused for second time amid noise concerns

·2-min read

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”.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

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.

Testing resumed with “mitigations” in place but has now been halted again.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

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.”

Shadow defence secretary John Healey urged the Government to task the National Audit Office with conducting a special audit of the programme “to prevent billions more of taxpayer money being wasted”.

“Only three weeks ago, ministers assured MPs that Ajax would begin operations from next week,” the Labour MP added.

“The MoD must get a grip on this stop-start shambles. Ajax is over budget, behind schedule and still not working safely.”

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.

A spokesman for the firm said: “General Dynamics Land Systems-UK is confident in its vehicle design and stand behind Ajax.

“The MoD has informed us that the pause is temporary and precautionary only.”

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.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting