General Dynamics will begin assembling and testing UK Army’s first fully digitised Ajax armored Vehicle in 2017.
Following a £390 million commitment to the Ajax armoured vehicle by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), General Dynamics has decided to turn the former Linde Forklift Truck Factory into an assembly, integration and testing center for Ajax in Merthyr Tydfil, the UK MoD said in a statement Monday.
The site was opened by Ministers from both the UK and Welsh Governments.
The new vehicle will give the army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities.
Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said, “This new facility, like the next generation vehicle it will produce, is more evidence of our £178 billion commitment to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. Thanks to the close partnership between the UK Government and industry, this site will spring back in to life as a significant centre of employment and bring in valuable skills with a lasting legacy for the entire region.”
The British Army will receive 589 Ajax vehicles which will come in six variants and replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked). Ajax will form a central component of the UK’s new Strike Brigades announced in the Strategic Defence and Spending Review at the end of last year.
Head of Armoured Vehicles at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation Major General Robert Talbot-Rice said, “Ajax represents the biggest single order for armoured vehicles for the British Army in three decades. It is the Army’s first fully digitised armoured vehicle, able to tackle terrain and highly resilient against likely threats.”
The new vehicle will give the army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and it will be able to defend itself with a 40-millimetre cannon, which was developed jointly with France.
To date, the MOD has committed £4.5 billion in contracts with General Dynamics to deliver the Ajax vehicle.
The British Army’s Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nicholas Carter said:
The opening of this facility is great news for the British Army.
Ajax will deliver a first class armoured capability to our ground forces. The combination of firepower, protection and mobility, as well as range and reach, will provide the battle winning edge to our new Strike Brigades.
Ajax will form a central component of the UK’s new Strike Brigades announced in the Strategic Defence and Spending Review at the end of last year. Crown Copyright.
The first vehicle is expected to be completed at the Merthyr Tydfil facility in 2018, with the first Army units to receive the vehicle equipped by mid-2019 and ready to deploy from the end of 2020.