On Monday 13th June during Defence Questions, Chris Evans MP demanded clarity from the Government on the future of Ajax. General Dynamics are manufacturing the £5.5 billion armoured vehicle programme at its site in Merthyr Tydfil, where they employ more than 700 people. While delivery of the widely criticked vehicles should have started in 2017, only 26 of the promised 589 have been handed to the Army.
The noise and vibration problems have led to injuries among the personnel testing the vehicles, with 13 individuals having restrictions on their military careers and 4 being discharged on health grounds.
This month, the Public Accounts Committee published a new Ajax report which stated that the MOD is “failing to deliver the enhanced armoured vehicles capability that the Army needs to better protect the nation and meet its NATO commitments.”
It confirmed that the MOD has made “fundamental mistakes in its planning and management of Ajax”, the Government “still does not know how to fix the noise and vibration problems” and there is still no in-service date for the vehicles.
The Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement said:
“The Public Accounts Committee are right, enough is enough. A concrete decision on the future of Ajax needs to be made for the sake of the manufacturing workers whose livelihoods depend on it.”
“A decision is necessary for the sake of not only our national security but our wider commitment to NATO.”