British Army’s New Ajax Tank Makes Troops Sick
The British Army is modernizing its forces with new armored fighting vehicles. One vehicle, in particular, called the “Ajax,” produced by General Dynamics UK, has been in testing with the service after a multi-billion dollar deal. But there’s a problem, the vehicles are so noisy and vibrate violently during operations that tank crews are becoming sick, according to The Times.
The UK government ordered 589 Ajax tanks, formerly known as the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle), a family of armored fighting vehicles being developed by General Dynamics. A deal between the service and the defense firm was inked in 2014 for $4.5 billion, and after trials in November, it appears these tanks are far from battle-ready.
It prompted the service to pause testing from late November to March. Over 20 mph, tank crews experience extreme vibrations and loudness, resulting in some troops suffering from swollen joints and ringing in their ears.
A defense industry source told The Times the tanks were so loud during operation that up the chain of command, there were fears that long-term use of these new tanks, crews would develop “neurological issues.”
The military has issued special noise-canceling headsets to correct the issue.
When the tank is underway, extreme vibrations have caused a much larger problem – tank crews cannot fire the cannon on the move with precision.
General Dynamics issued a statement and said it “continues to work closely with the British Army and Ministry of Defence to complete the remaining demonstration phase activities.”
“A small number of remaining issues are being reviewed and closed out in partnership with the British Army.”
The Ministry of Defence also issued a statement:
“We are committed to the Ajax program, which will form a key component in the Army’s modernized war-fighting division, with current plans for initial operating capability scheduled for summer 2021.
“The MoD can confirm some training on the Ajax vehicles was paused as a precautionary measure. This is a normal measure for the demonstration phase of projects.
“The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance.”
Some Western military experts are concerned that the Armata could outclass NATO’s tank fleets, such as the US’ M-1 Abrams, Germany’s Leopard 2, and Britain’s Challenger 2.
The UK modernization efforts with faulty tanks don’t seem like a winning success if the West taunts the Russian bear.