The UK's Ajax armoured fighting vehicle family is progressing through its trials and is on schedule to reach its initial operational capability (IOC) in 2020, the executive programme director for Ajax at General Dynamics Land Systems-UK (GDLS-UK), Rebecca McGrane, told the International Armoured Vehicles 2020 (IAV 2020) conference on 22 January.
Despite the delay in deliveries of the turreted variant of the Ajax, confirmed by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Jane's on 15 January, GDLS-UK maintains that what is important is that the IOC will be achieved this year. McGrane added that the Ajax variant and the Apollo repair and Atlas recovery variants will soon enter reliability growth trials.
She cited as one of the headline developments of 2019 the delivery and installation of the first training assets at Lyneham and Bovington, including the enhanced driver procedural trainer, desktop turret trainer, full motion driver simulator, and crew turret trainer.
McGrane said GDLS-UK expected the IOC to be achieved in 2020 because the company had reversed the 80% of a trainee's time typically spent on live vehicle use and the 20% spent on off-platform methods such as simulators and computers.
She reported that the vehicle family gained live crew clearance in 2019, making it safe for MoD personnel to conduct live fire tests and train with the vehicle. Ajax has also completed 42 battlefield missions (BFM), the test scenarios laid down by the MoD for the vehicle to complete as part of its reliability growth trials. Six of those BFMs have been conducted by British Army personnel, one of the final steps before entry into service trials, she said.
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