Ajax Vehicle Brings Merthyr Tydfil Factory Back to Life
(Source: U.K Ministry of Defence; issued March 7, 2016)
The British Army will receive 589 Ajax vehicles in six variants to replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked); they will form a central component of the UK’s future Strike Brigades. (UK MoD photo)
A disused forklift truck factory in Wales has been officially opened as a specialist engineering hub for the British Army’s next generation of armoured vehicles. The opening will create 250 new and highly skilled jobs.
Following a £390 million commitment to the Ajax armoured vehicle by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), General Dynamics UK decided to turn the former Linde Forklift Truck factory in Merthyr Tydfil into an assembly, integration and testing centre for Ajax.
The site, which will begin assembling and testing the Army’s first fully digitised Ajax vehicle in 2017, was opened by Ministers from both the UK and Welsh Governments.
Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:
“The opening of this new facility is a major development for both Merthyr Tydfil and the British Army. It is another reminder of the importance of Defence investment right across the UK: the Ajax programme alone is sustaining 2,800 jobs across the country, 550 of which are here in Wales.”
This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our £178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region.
In addition to the 250 jobs being created at the Merthyr Tydfil facility, the Ajax build programme is sustaining 300 jobs at General Dynamics in nearby Oakdale, and a further 2,250 jobs at more than 210 companies across the UK supply chain.
The British Army will receive 589 Ajax vehicles which will come in six variants and replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked). Ajax will form a central component of the UK’s new Strike Brigades announced in the Strategic Defence and Spending Review at the end of last year.
Head of Armoured Vehicles at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation Major General Robert Talbot-Rice said:
“Ajax represents the biggest single order for armoured vehicles for the British Army in three decades. Today’s opening is a big step towards fulfilment of this huge national project to put world beating equipment into our soldiers’ hands.
“The design of Ajax builds on lessons learned on the battlefield. It is the Army’s first fully digitised armoured vehicle, able to tackle the world’s toughest terrain and highly resilient against likely threats.”
The 589 Ajax vehicles will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the British Army on the battlefields of the future. The new vehicle will give the army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and it will be able to defend itself with a highly effective 40-millimetre cannon, which was developed jointly with France.
To date, the MOD has committed £4.5 billion in contracts with General Dynamics to deliver the Ajax vehicle.
The UK government is determined to see as many MoD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK.
General Dynamics’ decision to bring the assembly, integration and testing of Ajax vehicles to south Wales is an enormous vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the workforce. This grows the defence footprint in Wales and is an excellent example of the UK and Welsh Governments working together in the interests of the Welsh economy.
The Welsh manufacturing sector is surging from strength to strength. Today’s event showcases the invaluable contribution our home-grown talent is making in the provision of first-class protection and support to the brave men and women working in front line situations around the world.
The British Army’s Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter said:
“The opening of this facility is great news for the British Army.
“Ajax will deliver a first class armoured capability to our ground forces. The combination of firepower, protection and mobility, as well as range and reach, will provide the battle winning edge to our new Strike Brigades.”
The first vehicle is expected to be completed at the Merthyr Tydfil facility in 2018, with the first Army units to receive the vehicle equipped by mid-2019 and ready to deploy from the end of 2020.
General Dynamics Land Systems-UK Inaugurates New Armoured Fighting Vehicle Facility
(Source: General Dynamics; issued March 7, 2016)
General Dynamics Land Systems-UK today inaugurated its new Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) facility at Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The facility, which will undergo significant refurbishment through 2016 and be fully operational in 2017, will support the delivery of AJAX vehicles to the British Army.
At a short ceremony attended by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, and Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, representatives of the British Army and other local dignitaries, the facility was declared open and reaffirms the UK’s proud history of developing and manufacturing AFVs.
The facility was dedicated in the memory of famous Welshman, Sir Tasker Watkins. Born in Nelson, Caerphilly, which is a short distance from Merthyr Tydfil, Sir Tasker earned the Victoria Cross during the Second World War for his gallantry in the face of the enemy. Following the war, he served Wales with equal distinction in many different roles, including as President of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, said: “Today’s news is great for Merthyr and great for Wales. We’ve built a strong and close working relationship with General Dynamics – one of our anchor companies - and we have supported a number of their key projects that have brought new work and technology to Wales and created hundreds of new jobs.
“I am delighted we were able to support this latest, strategically important, investment and welcome the considerable associated economic benefits it will create.”
Philip Dunne, Minister for Defence Procurement, commented: “The opening of this new facility is a major development for both Merthyr Tydfil and the British Army. It is another reminder of the importance of Defence investment right across the UK: the AJAX programme alone is sustaining 2,800 jobs across the country, 550 of which are here in Wales.
“This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our £178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region.”
Alun Cairns MP, Wales Office Minister, remarked: “The UK government is determined to see as many MoD projects designed, built and manufactured here in the UK.
“General Dynamics' decision to bring the assembly, integration and testing of AJAX vehicles to south Wales is an enormous vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the workforce here in Merthyr Tydfil. This grows the defence footprint in Wales and is an excellent example of the UK and Welsh Governments working together in the interests of the Welsh economy.
“The Welsh manufacturing sector is surging from strength to strength. Today’s event showcases the invaluable contribution our home-grown talent is making in the provision of first-class protection and support to the brave men and women working in front line situations around the world.”
Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, said: “Today’s inauguration reaffirms our commitment to delivering world-leading AFVs to the British Army from the UK, and firmly establishes Wales as the home of the UK’s AFV industry. I’d like to thank the UK Government, Welsh Government, local council and community for its support as we establish a facility that we can all be proud of, which will lead the way in the delivery of a cutting-edge, fully-digitised fleet of vehicles for the British Army.”
Commenting on the dedication of the facility in the memory of Sir Tasker Watkins, Kevin Connell said: “Sir Tasker put his service to his men and country before his own safety during the Second World War, and his gallantry deserves to be continually remembered. Today’s dedication was our way of honouring his memory, and recognising the service of our Armed Forces, who serve our country with distinction every day.”
The new facility will support the creation of 250 new jobs, whilst the entire AJAX programme directly supports approximately 2,800 jobs across the UK at more than 210 UK-based companies. General Dynamics Land Systems-UK will begin initial, limited recruitment for the new facility later this year, with further significant recruitment taking place in mid-2017.
The Future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles
(Source: British Army; issued March 7, 2016)
General Dynamics announce that it will build the AJAX (AFV) Armoured Fighting Vehicle in a factory site near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.
AJAX provides a step-change in the Armoured Fighting Vehicle capability being delivered to the British Army.
The programme includes six variants: AJAX, ARES, APOLLO, ATHENA, ATLAS and ARGUS. Each AJAX variant will be a highly-agile, tracked, medium-weight armoured fighting vehicle, providing British troops with state-of-the-art best-in-class protection.
The 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.
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 AJAX 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. AJAX will replace the less capable CVR(T), 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 (Defence Systems & Equipment International) exhibition on 15 September 2015.
On 3 September 2014, General Dynamics UK was awarded £3.5 billion to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army