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General Dynamics expects Ajax payments to resume soon

General Dynamics is developing the Ajax armoured fighting vehicle for the British Army. (Crown Copyright)

General Dynamics believes it has resolved noise and vibration problems with its Ajax armoured fighting vehicle and that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will resume making payments for the programme by the end of March, according to officials at the US-based defence contractor.

“We anticipate, given the maturity of the vehicle and where it is in its test programme, that payments will begin to flow again,” General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic told the Cowen 44th Annual Aerospace/Defense & Industrials Conference on 15 February near Washington, DC. “But we're not going to be real specific about that other than we anticipate this largely this quarter.”

Since the MoD stopped making payments in 2021, the unpaid balance has grown to USD1.7 billion, General Dynamics wrote in a 7 February filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The MoD declined to say whether it agrees with Novakovic's comments. “We continue to work closely with General Dynamics for the successful delivery of Ajax and have moved to the next phase of testing the vehicle under simulated battlefield conditions,” an MoD spokesperson told Janes on 16 February. “While details of the contract are commercially sensitive, future payments remain under review as the programme continues its positive trajectory.”

David Williams, the MoD permanent secretary, told the UK Parliament's Defence Committee on 11 January that the programme has developed a “workable solution” for the noise and vibration problems. “The vehicle has successfully been through the user validation trials, and we are refining and finalising what we think that means” for the initial operating capability and full operating capability, he testified.

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