20 mph speed limit: British Ajax armored vehicle safety concerns

Contacting consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader would be a prudent move at this juncture. A fresh issue has emerged involving a novel vehicle, which appears to share the notorious reputation of being “unsafe at any speed.” In contrast to the American automobiles of the 1960s, this particular vehicle was meticulously crafted with occupant safety at the forefront. We’re talking about the British Army’s innovative Ajax armored vehicle, which has unfortunately fallen victim to a slew of problems, particularly excessive vibration and noise, rendering it perilous to operate beyond a modest speed of 20 miles per hour.

AJAX - General Dynamics UK

The gravity of this situation became so pronounced that, just earlier this month, the UK’s Ministry of Defence decided to temporarily suspend the trials of the Ajax. The Times of London, a venerable UK newspaper, disclosed this week that the Ministry had been made aware of issues within its new light tanks program over eleven months ago. Regrettably, it took this long for the trials to be halted due to concerns that the equipment was putting troops at risk.

According to the publication, Jeremy Quin, the defense procurement minister, indicated that in late 2019, soldiers engaged in pre-trial training involving the Ajax reported anecdotes of vibration-related problems. By July of the subsequent year, noise complaints also emerged from the soldiers. Strikingly, a medical report in September even raised the specter of injuries resulting from the vehicular noise.

British Army's New Armored Vehicle Is Making Soldiers Sick

This debacle traces back to 2014, when the Ministry commissioned a fleet of vehicles from General Dynamics UK at a cost of £3.5 billion, with subsequent cost increases. Now, the prospect of the 589 ordered vehicles arriving on time or within budget appears increasingly dubious. The government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority, following an investigation, concluded that achieving “successful delivery of the program to time, cost, and quality appears to be unachievable,” as reported by the BBC.

Pin on милитария

However, both the Ministry of Defence and the British Army maintain their unwavering commitment to the flagship Ajax program. This initiative was conceived to furnish the UK’s military forces with a modern array of tracked armored fighting vehicles, forming a cohesive “family.” The Ajax was an evolution of the ASCOD vehicle lineage, originally conceptualized by Steyr-Daimler-Puch and General Dynamics in the 1990s. Initially, it was hailed as one of the most advanced armored fighting vehicles worldwide. Sadly, over its decade-long development, it has been dogged by considerable delays and setbacks, far from realizing its intended active duty status.

Major design flaws in Army's new armoured vehicles, report shows - BBC News

As things stand, merely fourteen out of the planned 589 Ajax armored fighting vehicles have been deployed for trials. Unfortunately, these trials have not proceeded as anticipated. Crew complaints, including instances of temporary hearing loss and joint discomfort, necessitated a four-month hiatus in the testing phase.

The BBC has reported that these issues have led to stringent health and safety protocols during training. These measures encompass constraints like limiting crew time within the platform to an hour and thirty minutes before a rotation, or enforcing speed restrictions of just 20 miles per hour—less than half of its maximum speed potential.

Given the extent of these problems, the feasibility of the Ajax entering active service remains shrouded in uncertainty. Currently, it appears to be inching forward with great difficulty, accompanied by an overwhelming amount of noise. It might be prudent for the UK to reconsider retiring its aging tanks, as they, at the very least, wouldn’t subject their crews to deafening conditions.

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