DVD 2018: General Dynamics displays four variants of Ajax

The Ajax programme includes six variants: Ajax (reconnaissance), Ares (troop carrier), Apollo (recovery), Athena (information management), Atlas (engineer) and Argus (engineering information). The role indicated between brackets is a simplification. Each Ajax variant is a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armored fighting vehicle, providing British troops with state-of-the-art, best-in-class protection. The Ajax vehicles are developed upon a highly-adaptable and capable Common Base Platform, maximising commonality in mobility, electronic architecture and survivability that ensures the British Army has a family of world-class platforms.

DVD 2018 General Dynamics displays four variants of Ajax
General Dynamics displayed four variants of the Ajax family among the six created (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Each Ajax platform variant has extensive capabilities, including acoustic detectors, a laser warning system, a local situational awareness system, an electronic countermeasure system, a route marking system, an advanced electronic architecture and a high-performance power pack. The family of vehicles has growth inherently built in. With an upper design limit of 42 tonnes of driveline capability, scalable and open electronic architecture and a modular armour system, it has enormous potential to combat future threats and incorporate new technology throughout the lifespan of the platform.

As a result, Ajax provides the kind of growth capability that the user will need to face the uncertain challenges of Future Force 2020 and beyond. It will replace the less capable CVR(T) family, providing broad utility throughout the balanced Army 2020 force across all operations.

In September 2014, General Dynamics UK was awarded £3.5 billion to deliver 589 Ajax platforms to the British Army. In July 2015, it was awarded a further £390 million contract to provide in-service support for the AJAX fleet until 2024. In addition, the company announced that it is opening a new Armoured Fighting Vehicle Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility in South Wales. The Ajax programme was originally known as the SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) programme. It was renamed at DSEI on 15 September 2015.

Ajax becomes the medium-weight core of the British Army’s deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability. It enables the soldier to be at the point of collection of accurate all-weather commander information within a network-enabled digitised platform. It provides commanders with a survivable and capable Ground Mounted Manned Reconnaissance (GMMR) platform, which gives them the flexibility to perform a range of roles across the spectrum of conflict.

The primary role of Ajax is to provide accurate and timely information to support decision-making at all levels. It integrates a range of leading-edge technologies to provide an optimised survivable, lethal and agile ISTAR platform. The panoramic Primary Sight provides advanced all-weather imaging technology capability, which allows the Ajax variant to find, engage and target at far greater ranges than the current UK Ministry of Defence core legacy platforms.

A sophisticated, neatly packaged Electronic Architecture makes it the first fully-digitised land platform that is able to seamlessly integrate both current and future open system ISTAR and communication products. Enhanced and modular survivability technologies ensure it will survive both current and future threats. Lethality is provided by the 40mm cannon integrated into a revolutionary, user-defined, fightable turret. Where the operation dictates, a fully stabilised Remote Weapons Station can be fitted to the turret instead of the Primary Sight.

The training establishment and first squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.