Ministers Announce Ajax Delivery Milestone in Wales
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 18, 2017)
General Dynamics UK has handed over the first two Ajax vehicles – in fact, two Ares protected mobility vehicles – to the British Army, which will shortly submit them to government acceptance trials. (GD UK photo)
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and Minister for the UK Government in Wales Guto Bebb visited General Dynamics’ factory in Wales today to see two vehicles in the final stages of testing before they are delivered to the British Army.

The ministers viewed a demonstration of the new Ares protected mobility vehicle, part of the £4.5 billion Ajax family of armoured vehicles, at the factory in Merthyr Tydfil. The platforms will now continue going through a process known as Government Acceptance Training (GAT) before they are handed over to the Army.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said: “I am delighted to see the Ares in action. This vehicle, and the others in the Ajax family, will give the British Army a multi-role, mounted fighting power and reconnaissance capability fit for the future. We continue to invest in the best equipment for our Armed Forces, and I’m delighted to support such strong investment in Wales”

The ministers were also given a tour of the facility which was only opened in 2016, bringing around 250 jobs to the area. The MOD is the biggest provider of apprenticeships in the UK and many of those the ministers met were manufacturing and mechanical apprentices, keen to talk about their work in the factory. The Ajax build programme is also sustaining 300 jobs at General Dynamics’ nearby Oakdale site.

Backed by a rising defence budget, last year the MOD spent £870 million with Welsh businesses, helping to build a stronger economy and keep Britain safe, with Ajax representing the biggest single order for a UK armoured vehicle in 30 years. MOD investment in Wales works out to £280 per capita.

Minister for the UK Government in Wales Guto Bebb, said: “The UK Government is delivering on its ambitions for economic growth in Wales and is helping to improve people’s lives. Here in Merthyr Tyfil, General Dynamics are building next generation vehicles for the Army, providing jobs and skills that drive a stronger economy for Wales and for the UK.”

The six variants in the Ajax programme – Athena, Ajax, Ares, Apollo, Atlas and Argus - are due to come into service in 2020, providing a full suite of medium armoured vehicles and capabilities. The ‘GAT’ process for the Ares platforms is now being undertaken by the Army, conducting acceptance for both the British Army and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) at the facility in Merthyr Tydfil.

The range of Ajax variants will form a key component in the Army’s modernised warfighting Division conducting full-spectrum and network-enabled operations. They will operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.

The news comes after several other milestones revealed at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition last week. These included:

--The start of manned live firing trials for Ajax, including trials of the CT40 cannon, chain gun and smoke grenade launchers.
--The first appearance at DSEI of digital training systems being delivered by subcontractor Lockheed Martin, including small arms handling and turret crew trainers.

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General Dynamics Land Systems–UK Delivers Two AJAX Programme Platforms for Government Acceptance Testing
(Source: General Dynamics; issued Sept 18, 2017)
MERTHYR TYDFIL, South Wales --– In a significant milestone for the AJAX programme, General Dynamics Land Systems–UK has presented vehicles to Government Acceptance Testing (GAT) for assurance testing prior to delivery to the British Army (GAT).

Undertaken by an army headquarters unit, conducting acceptance for both the British Army and the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) at the company’s facility in Merthyr Tydfil, GAT assesses each of the platforms before they are formally delivered to the British Army.

Ahead of formally entering GAT, the army’s testing team undertook a range of training courses covering, amongst others, Driving and Maintenance, Vehicle Commanding and Operating the Self-Defence Weapon System. This training was delivered by General Dynamics Land Systems–UK.

Defence Equipment and Support Director Land Equipment, Major General Robert Talbot-Rice, said: “The AJAX programme represents the UK’s biggest single order of armoured vehicles in a generation and is making good progress. We remain on track to deliver this battle-winning capability, which sits at the heart of the British Army’s new Strike Brigades, into service in 2020.”

Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems–UK, said: “After seven years developing this world-leading family of vehicles, it is testament to the exceptional hardworking team at General Dynamics Land Systems–UK, DE&S and our supply chain that we have delivered these platforms into GAT ahead of delivery to the British Army. We remain firmly on-track to meet the British Army’s Initial Operating Capability.”

The range of AJAX variants will allow British Army ‘Strike Brigades’ to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. They will operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.


General Dynamics United Kingdom (General Dynamics UK) has two primary lines of business: Land Systems and Mission Systems. General Dynamics UK works in partnership with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) providing the nation’s primary land capabilities including, amongst others, Bowman, the British Armed Forces tactical communications programme, and AJAX, the replacement for the British Army’s reconnaissance vehicle fleet.

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