UK MoD brings in new management to fix troubled Ajax programme

by Tim Ripley

The Ajax reconnaissance vehicle programme now has a full-time minder in the UK MoD. (Crown Copyright)

A senior UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) official has been drafted in to take over the running of the Ajax reconnaissance vehicle programme in a bid to get the troubled project back on track.

Details of David Marsh's appointment as the senior responsible officer, or SRO, for the Ajax programme were posted on the ministry's website on 5 October. Marsh takes over from Major General Simon Hamilton, who was also the British Army's director of support.

According to his appointment letter, Marsh will be working full-time on Ajax (or, as it is also known, the Armoured Cavalry project), whereas his predecessor had to combine that task with running the British Army's equipment support operation and being SRO for several other procurement projects.

Marsh is a 30-year veteran official in the MoD and is director of project delivery in the ministry. He had previously been deputy chief executive of the Defence Science and Technical Laboratory.

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US Army donates M1117 armoured security vehicles to Greece

by Euthymius Petrou

The first 44 M1117 wheeled armoured security vehicles (ASVs) donated by the US Army to Greece arrived in Athens on 26 November.

The vehicles are part of a total of 60 stationed in Germany that were audited by a Hellenic Army committee. They were sent to Greece by rail via central Europe and Bulgaria. The official acceptance ceremony for the vehicles is scheduled for 1 December at the 301 Military Factory in Agioi Anargyroi near Athens.

The ASVs, which were donated without weapons and communication equipment, will be fitted with TRC 92000 radio sets already possessed by the Hellenic Army. They will be armed with M2HB 12.7 mm, M85 50-cal or M-60A1/A3 7.62 mm machine guns.

A second batch of M1117 ASVs will be sent to Greece from the United States. A total of 1,200 vehicles are being audited by Hellenic Army officers and around half are expected to be accepted for Greece.

The 44 M1117s delivered will be deployed to special forces and the next 250 to infantry battalion reconnaissance platoons.

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Egypt negotiating for K9 Thunder howitzers

by Jeremy Binnie

A K9A1 Thunder self-propelled howitzer on display at the EDEX show held in Cairo from 29 November to 2 December 2021. (Hanwha Defense)

The Egyptian military is considering acquiring 155 mm K9 Thunder tracked self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and support vehicles, South Korea's Hanwha Defense announced during the EDEX show held in Cairo on 30 November.

While it revealed no further details of the possible deal, on the same day South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited defence industry officials as saying it would include K10 ammunition resupply vehicles and technology transfer to enable local production of the artillery system.

South Korea has previously transferred technology to Turkey so it can produce its T-155 Fırtına variant of the K9.

If the deal is finalised, Egypt will be first Arab country to order the K9, which has already been exported to several European countries and India.

A photograph of a K9 purportedly taken in Egypt in mid-2017 prompted speculation that the howitzer was being trialled as part of a wider competition that included the French CAESAR wheeled SPH, which was also photographed in Egypt around that time.

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Production commences on Barys 6×6 for Kazakhstan

by Charles Forrester

The Barys 6×6 undergoing assembly at KPE facilities in Kazakhstan. (KPE)

Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering has commenced production of the Barys 6×6 infantry combat vehicle (ICV) as part of an initial order for the Kazakh military's special forces.

The Armed Forces Special Units of the Republic of Kazakhstan have placed an initial order for three vehicles, which is expected to pave the way for a larger order of vehicles to be manufactured by the Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering joint venture between Kazpetromash and Paramount Group. Delivery of the first batch of vehicles is expected by the end of 2021.

The Barys 6×6 is a winterised variant of Paramount Group's Mbombe 6×6 IFV and is operated by two crew members. The vehicle can carry up to eight troops, with the Barys 6 being additionally equipped with fire extinguishing systems, modified hatches, an upgraded mechanical turret, and various systems for attaching and storing weapons and ammunition internally and externally.

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A senior UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) official has been drafted in to take over the running of the A...

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