Continued delays in Britain’s £ 5.5 billion armored vehicle program could undermine the army’s planned reorganization, leaving British soldiers to rely on aging equipment for longer, according to Shitty report of the dog guarding Parliament’s expenses.
A National Audit Office report released on Friday found that although it had already spent more than £ 3 billion, the Department of Defense still did not know when the vehicles would be delivered. It added to that The Interior Ministry had “distrust” That the April 2025 target for full operational capability was achievable.
The audit also found that the Ministry of Health knew Noise and vibration problems As early as 2014 although she adds that officials were unaware of their severity. An assessment commissioned by the Ajax government released last year said the department issued its first official safety announcement regarding the problems four years later.
The main contractor, General Dynamics from the USA, signed a contract for a family of 589 vehicles more than a decade ago. Shipments were supposed to start in 2017 but so far only 26 were delivered, and none of them went into service. Instead, the vehicle trials They were stopped twice because of the problems, which led to some of their staff hearing loss.
The report is the latest indictment of a plan to replace a family of armored vehicles designed in the 1960s and originally slated to retire in 2014.
Ajax is designed to give the army a weapon for the era of high-tech warriors with a top speed of 70 km per hour, a powerful cannon of 40 mm and a design that will help it evade detection by the enemy.
The delays will have “important operational and financial implications for the military,” the NAO found. The plans rely on the supply of a network of digital capabilities by 2030, centered on Ajax, another new armored vehicle called the Boxer and the upgraded Challenger main battle tank.
But instead, the watchdog said the military accepted it “not to deploy Ajax as early as planned, relying instead on the aging armored Warrior and the main battle tank Challenger 2”.
Last year, as part of Sweeping cuts in defense The government has announced that it will eliminate the entire Warrior fleet by 2025 and cut one-third of the Challenger 2 tanks. The remaining 148 tanks will be upgraded.
Tobias Elwood, chairman of the House Defense Committee, said the program “does not bode well for the future.” “The British Army’s ground mobility fighter has not been tested. If Ajax is eventually eliminated, our dismantled infantry units will be without any serious defense.”
Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounting Committee, said: “The military is forced to continue using increasingly older and outdated equipment, which in addition to additional costs, reduces our capability while the dangers only increase.”
Francis Tosa, editor of Defense Analysis, said that although an estimated £ 40 billion has been spent on new equipment for the military since 2013, the force still “looks the same as what it did in 2010”.
The report said the Ministry of Health remained in dispute with General Dynamics over “unresolved contractual, safety and technical issues”.
The Ministry of Health said it was working with the contractor to solve the problems: “As we have made clear, Ajax is a problematic plan, and we will not get a vehicle that does not fit the purpose.”
He added: “We continue to meet our commitments to NATO and reduce any capacity gap through a range of alternative patrol capabilities.”
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