AJAX - the ‘NOT the CR2 upgrade’ thread

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
easy....

Hello BAE, sell us a load of CV90’s

Instant 100% guaranteed reliable fix.
‘100% guaranteed reliable’?

You’re proving yourself to be far more stupid than even I imagined.
 
£5Bn in, is there going to be a different option? For the sake of argument, if Ajax fails on the same scale as Nimrod AEW, what are the chances of the MoD being given the billions needed to buy an off the shelf equivalent?
 
£5Bn in, is there going to be a different option? For the sake of argument, if Ajax fails on the same scale as Nimrod AEW, what are the chances of the MoD being given the billions needed to buy an off the shelf equivalent?

despite being a total disaster, LAND has already decided AJAX is ‘great success’ and intends to sign off IOC before the damning report is released.
 
Interesting, short, piece from Jane's:


'UK Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin told Parliament on 8 June of the move to have Ajax vehicles assessed for vibration by the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

Quin described the vibration issues as “serious” but revealed that GDLS-UK had not reported the issue from its own company trials. The issue was detected by MoD experts, he said.

Millbrook experts are expected to report back by the end of July, said the minister. They are to place sensors “all over the vehicles to test where the vibration is happening and whether we can isolate it. It may be resolvable quickly; it may not be”.

“We are concerned about vibration,” said Quin. “I have to say that over many thousands of miles of testing General Dynamics has not had the same experience of vibration, but I absolutely trust the reports that have come to me from our service personnel. We are determined to get to the bottom of this. I can assure [Parliament] that we will not take anything into initial operating capability [IOC] until we are satisfied that we are getting the kit that we require.”

ETA link to Hansard record of recent oral question re. Ajax: Ajax Programme - Tuesday 8 June 2021 - Hansard - UK Parliament - the minister sounds relatively confident about the programme, but there are clearly issues which, for example, at present necessitate the issue of headsets to crew/passengers to reduce hearing damage.

Interesting quote from minister here about capability vs certification:

'I can reassure the right hon. Gentleman on a host of other issues that he raised. I do not deny that we have serious issues that we need to resolve, but there are a number of points where there is a difference between what is certified and what the vehicle is capable of. I can reassure him that the vehicle is capable of going well ahead of 30 km per hour, but with newly trained crews, a certification has been placed restricting speed, and I would expect that to be lifted during the course of next month. There has been a restriction in terms of going up over a reverse step. This is a vehicle that is capable of reversing over a 75 cm object. A restriction has been placed, and I expect that to be lifted shortly too. This is a vehicle that is capable of firing on the move. That is not something that we have certified it to do as yet. We are working through the demonstration phase, but we will continue to advance that demonstration phase. There will be issues; there always are in demonstration phases.

We do have issues to resolve, but as I say, the key ones are noise and vibration, both of which we are very focused on. I hope that we will be able to get resolution on all these issues, but it is what we are working with, with General Dynamics. It is a firm price contract, so £5.5 billion is the maximum that is payable, including VAT. Currently, we are at just under £3.2 billion spent. There is a heavy incentivisation on our suppliers to ensure that they get this over the line. We are working very closely with them at the very top level of their organisation. The joint programme office was delayed by covid, as the right hon. Gentleman will be aware. There were significant covid issues in Merthyr, and they did brilliantly through them. We have a joint programme office on the ground, and a combination of top-down and bottom-up will, I hope, enable us to make ongoing progress.

In terms of the reporting, as the right hon. Gentleman may be aware, an Infrastructure and Projects Authority report has been requested by the senior responsible owner, which was helpful. These things are helpful. It is helpful that SROs and their teams can speak honestly to the IPA and get proper independent assessments. That was conducted back in March, and it has certainly helped. I look forward to making further progress and reporting back on that to interested parties as we resolve the issues that are outstanding.

I reiterate that this is a first-class vehicle. It is the first of its kind. It has an important job to do. It is currently employing around 4,100 people across the length and breadth of the UK. I visited Merthyr, and I am proud of what they are doing there. We will, and we must, get this right and get it delivered.'
 
Last edited:
Email and tell them. It'll help them lift their game.

Mind you, yon RN type might want to be reminded of the problems with Astute submarines; inevitable if you remove yourself from the development game for too long as the Army has done with AFV development.

...1917 being a long time to be out of the tank game, and Warthog hardly being comparable to CR2 or 3.

Well, the Navy knew EXACTLY what they wanted with Astute, and they stuck to it religiously. Now they have world class attack submarines, despite years out of the boat-building game.
The Army on the other hand has literally spent decades and £5 billion on armoured vehicles. Yet has absolutely fökk all to show for it. Literally every single vehicle in the armoured and artillery units are obsolete or obsolescent.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Well, the Navy knew EXACTLY what they wanted with Astute, and they stuck to it religiously. Now they have world class attack submarines, despite years out of the boat-building game.
The Army on the other hand has literally spent decades and £5 billion on armoured vehicles. Yet has absolutely fökk all to show for it. Literally every single vehicle in the armoured and artillery units are obsolete or obsolescent.
Much of what you say is true although I can’t say if ASTUTE is world class or not, it’s certainly had enough issues to be brilliant…

While there were some great RN IAs in Iraq and Afghanistan and clearly 3X did their bit, the RN in particular has had in reality over three decades of being unencumbered by the impact of current ops on the reality of its hardware.

Personally I can recall the shock in 1982 as RN frigates and destroyers didn’t quite perform as their designers had foretold from a fire retardant perspective.

Time will tell whether new RN designs will be good, I hope they are.

As for the Army, the phrase ‘capability holiday’ should be burned into every aspiring ‘weapons’ staff officers’ forehead, and every VSO too.
 
Funnily enough yesterday i was travelling about 10 miles away from Millbrook Proving Ground, going south and coming towards us was x2 AJAX on HET's.
To be fair i am surprised Millbrook have not had their hands on AJAX previously. They did nearly 4 months of driving trials on Support Vehicle.
 
Much of what you say is true although I can’t say if ASTUTE is world class or not, it’s certainly had enough issues to be brilliant…

While there were some great RN IAs in Iraq and Afghanistan and clearly 3X did their bit, the RN in particular has had in reality over three decades of being unencumbered by the impact of current ops on the reality of its hardware.

Personally I can recall the shock in 1982 as RN frigates and destroyers didn’t quite perform as their designers had foretold from a fire retardant perspective.

Time will tell whether new RN designs will be good, I hope they are.

As for the Army, the phrase ‘capability holiday’ should be burned into every aspiring ‘weapons’ staff officers’ forehead, and every VSO too.

Every time a submarine dives it has to be 100% reliable. There’s a reason why we have never had a catastrophic failure on one of our nuclear boats, and it’s not because of shoddy design.
Every naval deployment is part of ops, and this is especially true of the submarines, who operate in the most inhospitable environments imaginable. Yet the kit works.

Regarding capability holidays, it seems like the RAF and Navy can take breaks, still come home and show up to work the following Monday (maritime patrol, carrier ops etc). But the Army on holiday manages to get lost, splurge billions of pounds, and spend the next three decades wondering around aimlessly in Ibiza!
 
Every time a submarine dives it has to be 100% reliable. There’s a reason why we have never had a catastrophic failure on one of our nuclear boats, and it’s not because of shoddy design.
Every naval deployment is part of ops, and this is especially true of the submarines, who operate in the most inhospitable environments imaginable. Yet the kit works.

Regarding capability holidays, it seems like the RAF and Navy can take breaks, still come home and show up to work the following Monday (maritime patrol, carrier ops etc). But the Army on holiday manages to get lost, splurge billions of pounds, and spend the next three decades wondering around aimlessly in Ibiza!
Point taken, but are you familiar with the issues experienced by the Type 45s? The RN isn't infallible.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Every naval deployment is part of ops, and this is especially true of the submarines, who operate in the most inhospitable environments imaginable. Yet the kit works.

Regarding capability holidays, it seems like the RAF and Navy can take breaks, still come home and show up to work the following Monday (maritime patrol, carrier ops etc). But the Army on holiday manages to get lost, splurge billions of pounds, and spend the next three decades wondering around aimlessly in Ibiza!
I get that. How many ASTUTE boats do we have?

The RN and the RAF man equipment, the Army equips men. The Army, believe it or not, is manpower based, the other two services are platform based. That’s why arguments about platform complexity are a bit fatuous, along with the fact that all environments are different - one of the problems of the fantastic jointery that’s been necessarily achieved over the past few years is that some people think that air is the same as maritime is the same as land.

It’s not the same. It’s the land environment that is the most complex, not the platforms, and I think that getting people to understand that is by far the biggest problem.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
As I understand it, the issue is with the political choice way back of a new and untried engine, which proved to be the flaw rather than a tried and tested definite working engine.

Oh, and don't forget the same Secretary of State who imposed the prime movers as a way to buy votes essential to support British industry, declaring that shore-based testing of said new and untried engine was an unnecessary extravagance that could be safely cut to reduce costs (and might undermine confidence and prevent the massive export sales that were sure to be imminent - how could we sell thousands of WR21s if we were still testing them ourselves?) Because what problems could arise from operating a new prime mover, in a new ship, with a new propulsion concept, in an environment that the Secretary of State had said wasn't part of the requirement because the RN's operations in the Arabian Gulf weren't "core"?

Not that I'm bitter or angry about it. And I definitely have never done the "Told You So!" dance.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Oh, and don't forget the same Secretary of State who imposed the prime movers as a way to buy votes essential to support British industry, declaring that shore-based testing of said new and untried engine was an unnecessary extravagance that could be safely cut to reduce costs (and might undermine confidence and prevent the massive export sales that were sure to be imminent - how could we sell thousands of WR21s if we were still testing them ourselves?) Because what problems could arise from operating a new prime mover, in a new ship, with a new propulsion concept, in an environment that the Secretary of State had said wasn't part of the requirement because the RN's operations in the Arabian Gulf weren't "core"?

Not that I'm bitter or angry about it. And I definitely have never done the "Told You So!" dance.
No ‘innovation’ funding for you chum….
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I get that. How many ASTUTE boats do we have?

More than we have operational AJAX?

The RN and the RAF man equipment, the Army equips men. The Army, believe it or not, is manpower based, the other two services are platform based. That’s why arguments about platform complexity are a bit fatuous, along with the fact that all environments are different - one of the problems of the fantastic jointery that’s been necessarily achieved over the past few years is that some people think that air is the same as maritime is the same as land.

It’s not the same. It’s the land environment that is the most complex, not the platforms, and I think that getting people to understand that is by far the biggest problem.
I would not dispute this at all, and indeed have to make the same arguments myself.

However, the Army has - across a number of its supposedly-core areas - managed to expensively fail to achieve anything useful for two decades now. IFPA begat CONGREVE which became LFDS which was at least going to deliver MFP - and yet we're still starting and stopping pre-Concept Phase projects, spending money, and achieving absolutely nothing of use, while our 1990s kit ages out.

We currently seem to have decided that artillery is no longer an issue, and that "cyber" will solve all of Land's problems instead...

No ‘innovation’ funding for you chum….

Oh, it's paying my mortgage these days, and I'm trying to do what I see as the right thing, but it isn't easy (if it was, why would they need me?)

New tech and capabilities matter, but (going back a century) the radio added to the lethality of armour, artillery and airpower, and SIGINT gave us opportunities to exploit: but we couldn't simply sack off all our tanks, guns and planes because we'd defeat the enemy by "superior communication".
 

Latest Threads

Top