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British Army AJAX IOC Delayed

AJAX Scout In-Country Cold Weather system trialling at Tame Ranges in Sweden, between Feb-Mar 2019 [Crown Copyright: Jack Eckersley]
The Armoured Cavalry Programme Accounting Officer assessment statement on the British Army AJAX programme has been published today.

Whitehall, 14 October 2020published 16 October: Armoured Cavalry Accounting Officer Assessment – Armoured Cavalry is the programme that will deliver AJAX, the Army’s transformational new armoured vehicle.

Armoured Cavalry is forecasting a schedule slip to its Initial Operating Capability (IOC) which it is now seeking to reset to an AJAX ISD [In Service Date] in Jan 21 and AJAX IOC in Jun 21 against its Main Gate Business Case 2 (MGBC2) 50% schedule approval of 31 Jul 20, which recognised the 90% IOC date could be 31 Dec 22 with outlying risks which have now materialised.

While the time aspect is delayed, there is assessed to be no impact on the overall cost, or the programme’s ability to meet its performance targets or benefits. While there is a delay to IOC in this anticipated 15-year programme, we are conducting further analysis to assure deliverability of the full operational capability.

The principal reasons for the delay are: a degree of optimism bias regarding the schedule for a new generation armoured fighting vehicle; a degree of under-estimation of the challenges involved in generating supporting technical evidence such as safety cases for the first complex and fully digitised Land platform; COVID-19; and poor delivery performance and control across the venture which is in the process of being rectified.

AJAX prototype at DVD 2018 [© Bob Morrison]

Background: The Armoured Cavalry programme, alongside the Mechanised Infantry Programme (delivering Boxer), will enable the Army’s Strike capability through the transformation of the Armoured Cavalry and the generation of Medium Armour capabilities. The Armoured Cavalry programme delivers Ajax into service. Ajax provides a reconnaissance and direct fire engagement capability alongside Boxer providing dismounted troops on to the battlefield; together they form the Army’s Strike capability.

The Armoured Cavalry programme passed MG1 in Mar 10 and MG2 in Dec 14. The contract was recast in 2019. The programme is still forecast to deliver within the cost and performance approvals agreed by the IAC. This AOA is made at a stage when Ajax is being trialled and the first vehicles have been delivered to the Field Army.

The new team in DE&S, and an increased focus on the wider deliverables from General Dynamics, has allowed the delivery of the first vehicles and gives confidence for the route to IOC.

AJAX at IAV 20, January 2020 [© Bob Morrison]
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