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Spending watchdog probes troubled UK tank programme

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The £ 5.5 billion raise of problematic Ajax light tanks for the British Army will be subject to a full monetary audit by the Public Expenditure Oversight Agency.

The National Audit Office will investigate four armored vehicle programs. Ajax project -And he said he would consider “systematic issues” in the administration of the Ministry of Defense.

Ajax was aimed at equipping the army for the era of high-tech warfare. They were deadly, fast (maximum speed 70km / h), equipped with a powerful 40mm machine gun, and built to avoid detection by the enemy.

More than a decade after the Defense Department signed a contract with U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics for a family of 589 vehicles, Procurement Minister Jeremy Quinn admitted that the program could be suspicious. I did.

Gareth Davies, head of NAO, said his team would consider the Ajax, Boxer, Challenger, and Warrior programs. In a letter to Defense Minister John Healy seen by the Financial Times, Davis stated that the purpose was to prepare a report in March next year.

Delivery of Ajax vehicles to the Army should have started four years ago, and none of the 26 currently delivered have started service.

Instead, the vehicle was tested twice because of concerns that noise and excessive vibration were causing hearing loss to the crew.

There are reports that vehicles cannot fire cannons while on the move — claims that General Dynamics denies. The company said last month that all six variations were in full production and 116 vehicles were in the process of being manufactured, delivered or handed over.

Quinn told parliamentarians last month:

Earlier this year, Healy asked NAO to investigate, expressing concern about “the fundamental flaws in the vehicle, the secrets of the terms and conditions” and the “big costs and unilateral risks” borne by taxpayers.

Healy said: “These vehicles are essential to the future of our army, but a decade of procurement failures wasted millions and made our service personnel more vulnerable on the battlefield.”

In March, the Commons Defense Commission report said that “bureaucratic procrastination, military decisions, financial deficiencies, and general inadequacy” would “defeat” potential enemies. Warned that the army would be placed in a “serious risk”.

A spokesperson for the mod said: “We want the military to provide the best ships, aircraft and vehicles, while always providing cost performance at all stages of the procurement program.”

MoD said it supported the review as it implemented the “Ambitious Modernization” plan set out in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Foreign Policy Review earlier this year. The Ajax light tank was an important part of the Army’s new strategy.

A spokeswoman said: “Through new streamlined processes and delivery-focused industry contract development, we have achieved economic savings of over £ 6.2 billion in equipment planning since 2016, and £ 3 billion between 2021 and 2025. We plan to save efficiency. ”

GD promised FT last month that it would “work very closely with the British Army to provide this transformational capability” and “fully support the Ministry of Defense to bring this critical platform up and running.” Said.

Spending watchdog probes troubled UK tank programme Source link Spending watchdog probes troubled UK tank programme

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