UK’s Troubled Ajax Infantry Vehicles to Enter Service in 2025 After 8-Year Delay

The UK Ministry of Defence is moving forward with its troubled Ajax infantry fighting vehicle program after experiencing years of delays.

According to an announcement of a revised delivery timeline, the light armored vehicles will be deployed with a single squadron by the end of 2025 — eight years later than originally planned.

However, the Ajax will only be granted full operating capability by October 2028 at the earliest.

“Full Operating Capability will be met when the Army has trained and converted forces to the Ajax platform to deliver Armored Cavalry capability to the Deep Reconnaissance Strike Brigade and its two Armored Brigade Combat Teams,” defense procurement minister Alex Chalk said in an update to parliament.

The UK government has resumed paying the manufacturer of the Ajax vehicles after halting it in 2020 due to several technical concerns.

The Issue

The defense ministry’s 3-billion-pound ($3.7-billion) project to build 589 state-of-the-art Ajax vehicles has received criticism for running more than a decade without providing a single deployable vehicle.

Early trial versions faced heavy public backlash for being restricted from traveling faster than 20 miles (32 kilometers) per hour or firing their cannons while moving.

Ajax infantry fighting vehicle
General Dynamics will produce 589 Ajax infantry fighting vehicles. Photo: General Dynamics

The program experienced further delays when soldiers complained about noise and vibration issues, resulting in hearing loss in some cases.

“The Ajax program, no matter how much one dresses it up, has been a complete and utter disaster. It has been a real shamble,” the former head of the Royal Navy said in December.

‘Heart’ of Future Armored Fleet

General Dynamics developed the Ajax fighting vehicle to provide enhanced lethality, survivability, reliability, and mobility to UK infantry units.

It will reportedly serve as the heart of the British Army’s future armored fleet with cutting-edge systems and components.

The platform’s primary role will be as the reconnaissance vehicle and artillery fire support of Armored Brigade Combat Teams.

The vehicle will have a 40mm cannon, coaxial mounted 7.62mm L94 chain gun, and a two-man turret.

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