UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) procurement chiefs are reassessing the GBP5.3 billion (USD6.7 billion) Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) was found not to be ready for delivery.
The UK MoD is reassessing the Ajax programme after the first batch of production standard AFVs was found not to be ready for delivery.
Details of the exercise are still being worked out and the MoD’s chief civilian administrator, Stephen Lovegrove, is preparing to issue a formal notification to the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee about the reassessment. These notifications are only made when major cost overruns, technical glitches or programme delays are involved.
The revelation of the reassessment was made by Air Marshal Richard Knighton, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff for Financial and Military Capability, in evidence to the committee on 28 May.
AM Knighton confirmed the Ajax vehicles made by General Dynamics Land Systems-UK (GDLS-UK) were not ready to be accepted by the British Army as planned last year.
“There was a desire to preserve [delivery] dates in order to maintain the focus and the morale of soldiers that would use the capability, but it became clear that elements of it were not going to be ready by the original date,” AM Knighton told the committee. “In due course, when we better understand the details of that, Sir Stephen [Lovegrove] will be writing to the committee with a revised assessment of the programme.”
The problems were identified by the MoD’s Major Projects Portfolio sponsor group, which monitors programme performance, said AM Knighton. He was responding to questioning from the committee on whether procurement project teams have a temptation to deliver equipment before it is ready so they can meet high-profile milestones.