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Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
RunningStrong
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 13 Oct 2021, 15:12

Ron5 wrote:Medium armor requires a decent gun. But for recce, if you're engaged in a shooting contest, you've failed your primary task.

Such a cliché :lol:

British Army (AJAX), French Army (Jaguar), Australian Army (Boxer), Canadian (LAV 6.0), American (Bradley, LAV).

Lord Jim
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 13 Oct 2021, 17:22

Ron5 wrote:And yet the world's armies (except France) are still stocking up on tracked AFV's. In fact, tracked IFV's seem to be the hottest part of the market.


Many nations are still ordering tracked AFVs but these are usually of the heavier types and in smaller quantities. Most NATO armies have already bought significant number of wheeled AFVs, especially those who see themselves as being bound to support NATO on expeditionary operations. The only three NATO countries with substantial current orders for tracked AFVs are Germany and Poland and the United Kingdom.

Wheeled vehicles have taken over the supporting role previously carried out by the M113, AIFV or legacy Russian vehicles. It is the reduced cost to purchase and support wheeled vehicles that has made them popular and often the first purchase when a nations is looking to modernise their land forces. A number of NATO's eastern european nations have now purchased large fleets of wheeled APCs and IFVs as well. Only after these have been delivered have they then looked at a tracked IFV and in most cases the numbers they desire are unaffordable.

Ajax as a platform is not needed by the British Army in its primary role especially in the number currently on order. If we do continue with it we only really need it for the Deep Precision Fire BCT and that is only two Regiments worth, so no more than 175 vehicles of all variants.
For the Heavy BCTs a version of the Boxer is an obvious alternative to the Ajax, or possibly a smaller off the shelf IFV could fulfil the role. I also believe the BCTs do not need a full Recce Regiment as part of their pool of units. I would have a full Squadron as part of the Armoured Regiment, and a Platoon in each Infantry Battalion. Together with the BCT's other ISTAR assets and those attached from "Divisional", level should provide a Heavy BCT with the information on the opposition it requires. Instead I strongly believe that all BCTs should contain three Infantry Battalions.

For our deployable Heavy BCTs we need to minimise the number of HETs we need to deploy AFVs both to a port for embarkation and from the port to the area where they are to form up as units ready for operations. A single Heavy BCT will need nearly all our available HETs to move the it's Challenger 3s and the Challenger based Combat engineering Vehicles.

The argument that the Ajax is critical to the Army and will be the core of its networking capability are only half true. Yes the Ajax is one of the first AFVs designed to incorporate such a capability, but the Challenger 3 will also have the same capabilities. Boxer in all its variants will also have a similar capability and some like the command and Precision Fires may end up with a superior version.

With the current order for 500+ Ajax vehicles the Army is going to look everywhere to find places to shoe horn them into. There will be cases where the Ajax will certainly not the vehicle for a given role but will be asked to do so anyhow. Even if the Ajax is declared combat ready after the latest bout of trials, I would use the delays and problems with the contract to renegotiate. The Army would accept no more than 200 Ajax vehicles covering all necessary variants, at full TES standard for the amount that has already been paid as part of the original contract. So this would also include variants not currently under contract but have been developed by GDUK and its partners, such as combat engineering and overwatch vehicles. This will allow the Deep Precision Fires BCT to be properly equipped to carry out the Recce part of its mission. The balance of the current Ajax programmes funding will be moved to one or more of the Army's multitude of modernisation programmes.

Well there again is my two pence worth.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby jimthelad » 13 Oct 2021, 19:07

Ron5 wrote:
Medium armor requires a decent gun. But for recce, if you're engaged in a shooting contest, you've failed your primary task

The primary aim of the BA (and every other buggers) recce screen is FIND,FIX, and DESTROY. Your primary aim is to locate and shadow the main force using a mix of assets and modalities. The standing orders were to locate their FLOT, probe for holes( including kinetic incursions), negate the opposition recce screen efforts, find SAM/SPAA, any TBM or MLRS, and target their C4I assets (cmd post, antenna tanks, etc). The moment things go loud, your job is to slot your oppo's in their recce screen most rickety-tic-tic. In the UK that meant a mix of LAV's (CVRT), dismounts/sniper elements, and Landrover mounted ATGM units. This was backed up usually by MLRS, AS90, or in my case 105mm light guns on speed dial. There would usually be several FAC/JTAC trained members of this unit as well. Having better optics, a bigger gun, and good anti-armour allows you to do this.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby sol » 13 Oct 2021, 21:17

Lord Jim wrote:The only three NATO countries with substantial current orders for tracked AFVs are Germany and Poland and the United Kingdom.


Define substantial. 218 Lynx IFV ordered by Hungary is quite substantial IMO, just like possible Czech order of some 210 vehicle from one of three contenders, Lynx, ASCOD and CV90. In 2012 Norway ordered 144 new CV90s and 20 more in this year. Not to mention that Dutch and Finland planing to upgrade their CV90s or that Slovakia is considering replacing their old Soviet BMPs with new tracked vehicles. Maybe those numbers are not as high as UK Ajax order, but they are still pretty substantial for those countries.

Ron5
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 14 Oct 2021, 14:18

sol wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:The only three NATO countries with substantial current orders for tracked AFVs are Germany and Poland and the United Kingdom.


Define substantial. 218 Lynx IFV ordered by Hungary is quite substantial IMO, just like possible Czech order of some 210 vehicle from one of three contenders, Lynx, ASCOD and CV90. In 2012 Norway ordered 144 new CV90s and 20 more in this year. Not to mention that Dutch and Finland planing to upgrade their CV90s or that Slovakia is considering replacing their old Soviet BMPs with new tracked vehicles. Maybe those numbers are not as high as UK Ajax order, but they are still pretty substantial for those countries.


Add Australia and the USA to that list. Both having active tracked AFV programs.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 14 Oct 2021, 14:27

jimthelad wrote:Ron5 wrote:
Medium armor requires a decent gun. But for recce, if you're engaged in a shooting contest, you've failed your primary task

The primary aim of the BA (and every other buggers) recce screen is FIND,FIX, and DESTROY. Your primary aim is to locate and shadow the main force using a mix of assets and modalities. The standing orders were to locate their FLOT, probe for holes( including kinetic incursions), negate the opposition recce screen efforts, find SAM/SPAA, any TBM or MLRS, and target their C4I assets (cmd post, antenna tanks, etc). The moment things go loud, your job is to slot your oppo's in their recce screen most rickety-tic-tic. In the UK that meant a mix of LAV's (CVRT), dismounts/sniper elements, and Landrover mounted ATGM units. This was backed up usually by MLRS, AS90, or in my case 105mm light guns on speed dial. There would usually be several FAC/JTAC trained members of this unit as well. Having better optics, a bigger gun, and good anti-armour allows you to do this.


Naturally I concede to your greater expertise.

Sounds like when the recce part of the mission is complete (ie the location of the oppo main force) and the heavy stuff called in from afar, the recce units go on a soft target hunting spree. So from recce to medium armor.

Presumably the Ajax electronic wizardry (aka the digital backbone) delivers GBs of real time data back to the bosses in the rear to aid their decision making before turning that off to become a mini tank.

PS interesting that what started as a suggestion to buy CV90 as an IFV to replace Warrior (instead of using Boxer or a new Ajax derivative) has been diverted.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 14 Oct 2021, 19:47

I always thought there were two trains of thought when it came to Recce. The most active was the way the US Army and Bundeswehr used to carry out things, actually fighting for intel whilst forming a heavy screen in front of the main elements. To achieve this their Recce units were equipped with a combination of Medium Recce Vehicles and Main Battle tanks often supported by rotary aviation assets.

We chose a less noisy method relying on stealth and field craft to identify who the opposition were, how they were organised and what target were the highest priority. I though the shoots only happens if our Recce Screen was detected and therefore carried out a shooting withdrawal back to bigger friends. I didn't know our Recce Forces actively sought out their opposition as well as soft targets once things went hot. I know there we plans to hide a number of CVR(T)s and SF and to allow the enemy to advance past their hidden location. They would then emerge and conduct operations behind enemy lines in small teams of one or two CVR(T)s and SF. The Germans seem to have moved more to the quieter method since adopting the Fennek.

Obviously today and in future our Army has many more options for conducting Recce and has a Digital "Backbone" planned to network its units greatly speeding up the sensor to shooter cycle. Ajax is not a unique platform in this, but it was to be the first. It wasn't just to be a replacement for the CVR(T) but was to change the way the Army did its business, which is why the way the programme has proceeded is such a mess. Boxer will have the same "Backbone", but it will need the same sensors, mainly the Thales sights and FCS, as Ajax, and the Challenger 3 have, to carry out the role of Ajax.

Does anyone have good information on the status of the Ajax CT40 Turret? Is it problem free or does it also have its own woes. If it doesn't then developing a Boxer Mission Module to take said turret could be a way forward, with Warriors that have undergone a minor modification filling the role until the former are ready. Not ideal, but in my opinion, certainly doable.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby BB85 » 14 Oct 2021, 21:57

I don't think Ajax is going to be traveling too far out on its own scouting when UAVs will be scanning the terrain for 100 of miles and transfering the data straight to Ajax. The space taken up inside for sensors and processors is on a different scale to anything else out there, so we either have extremely large outdated processors (probably from 2009) or Ajax will be a game changer on the ground. 38 tonnes doesn't seem that heavy if cv90, puma and lynx are able to handle it, Ares doesn't even have a turret so will be lighter. I just don't understand how GD managed to screw up the basics when they are one of the largest armour manufacturers in the world.

RunningStrong
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 14 Oct 2021, 22:47

Ron5 wrote:Presumably the Ajax electronic wizardry (aka the digital backbone) delivers GBs of real time data back to the bosses in the rear to aid their decision making before turning that off to become a mini tank.
.

No, the electronic wizardry in AJAX is the Electronic Architecture.

The digital backbone is BOWMAN now, Morpheus later. The same equipment on all current UK AFV platforms (with variations in fitments of HF, VHF, UHF and SATCOM).

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 15 Oct 2021, 13:43

RunningStrong wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Presumably the Ajax electronic wizardry (aka the digital backbone) delivers GBs of real time data back to the bosses in the rear to aid their decision making before turning that off to become a mini tank.
.

No, the electronic wizardry in AJAX is the Electronic Architecture.

The digital backbone is BOWMAN now, Morpheus later. The same equipment on all current UK AFV platforms (with variations in fitments of HF, VHF, UHF and SATCOM).


So Ajax doesn't deliver masses of data back to HQ? Can't help but think why, in that case, it has cost 3 billion to develop :cry:

Ron5
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 15 Oct 2021, 13:57

Lord Jim wrote:Does anyone have good information on the status of the Ajax CT40 Turret? Is it problem free or does it also have its own woes. If it doesn't then developing a Boxer Mission Module to take said turret could be a way forward, with Warriors that have undergone a minor modification filling the role until the former are ready. Not ideal, but in my opinion, certainly doable.


My suggestion would be to use the French unmanned CT40 turret. Keeps the vehicle profile down and has less impact on the number of troops carried. Plus I think its pretty mature at this point.

I couldn't find a photo of an Nexter unmanned turret on Boxer so here's the manned version. Looks a bit photoshoppy ..
Image
Unmanned version from 2016 ..
Image

Lord Jim
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Oct 2021, 14:41

IF we are to stick worth the CT40 Gun then this is probably the best way forward. If not the either the German Lance-R unmanned turrets or the turret installed on their Puma IFV, also unmanned would be my preference, both of which have been tried and tested on the Boxer. AS a bonus both the German turrets are designed to have ATGW mounted, in Australian and German Service with a twin Spike-LR2 launcher.

RunningStrong
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 15 Oct 2021, 15:59

Ron5 wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Presumably the Ajax electronic wizardry (aka the digital backbone) delivers GBs of real time data back to the bosses in the rear to aid their decision making before turning that off to become a mini tank.
.

No, the electronic wizardry in AJAX is the Electronic Architecture.

The digital backbone is BOWMAN now, Morpheus later. The same equipment on all current UK AFV platforms (with variations in fitments of HF, VHF, UHF and SATCOM).


So Ajax doesn't deliver masses of data back to HQ? Can't help but think why, in that case, it has cost 3 billion to develop :cry:

Why would you waste bandwidth sending data when you can send information with much lower overheads?

Also not forgetting that sending data is always a risk to your signature.

Ron5
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 15 Oct 2021, 17:35

Tru dat :)

jonas
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby jonas » 19 Oct 2021, 09:28

Armoured Cavalry Programme. Ajax update :- 18th Oct 2021 House of Lords.

Baroness Goldie: My hon. Friend the Minister for
Defence Procurement (Jeremy Quin MP) has made the
following Written Ministerial Statement:
I wish to provide a further update to Parliament on the
Ajax equipment project being delivered as part of the
Armoured Cavalry Programme.
1. Health and Safety
The review by the MOD’s Director of Health, Safety
and Environmental Protection on the Health and Safety
aspects of the Noise and Vibration concerns raised on
Ajax is now in its final stages. The Report runs through
the chronology of the Ajax programme and key decisions
made regarding safety in order to ensure a clear
understanding of the current background and is being
subjected to a formal Maxwellisation process. I look
forward to the Report being finalised. I will publish it in
full.
2. Update on Personnel
The health of our service personnel is our top priority.
At 30 September 2021, the total number of people
exposed to noise and vibration from Ajax was 310, of
whom 11 are civilians and 10 are now Veterans. All 310
Page 2 18 October 2021 Written Statements
individuals have now been contacted and offered
assessments for noise and vibration.
On noise, at 30 September 2021, 270 people have been
assessed and 40 people have declined assessment or have
so far been unavailable to attend. Of the 270 individuals
who have been assessed, 231 have returned to duty having
maintained or returned to pre-exposure levels of hearing.
Of the 231, as an extra precaution, 166 people are
receiving enhanced hearing surveillance. Of the
remaining 39 people who have been assessed, 34 remain
under specialist outpatient care at the Queen Elizabeth
Hospital, Birmingham/Royal Centre for Defence
Medicine; most of these are under-going a period of
hearing rest prior to reassessment, at which point we
expect a significant number to return to full duties. There
are a remaining 5 individuals who have been medically
downgraded (potentially requiring a change of duties
within the Armed Forces) or discharged, either for
reasons unrelated to hearing or with hearing loss as a
major or minor cause. In the case of hearing loss being
identified Ajax may or may not be confirmed as a
contributory factor. I am withholding a more precise
breakdown of those downgraded or discharged because
individuals could be identified resulting in a potential
breach in medical confidentiality.
Vibration injuries is a highly specialised area, requiring
a graduated assessment process. All 310 individuals
exposed have been offered a vibration assessment, with
around 125 having so far declined assessment. The
process is ongoing but, at 30 September, 45 individuals
have been referred for specialist assessment of symptoms
which could be associated hand-transmitted vibration, 9
individuals have been referred for specialist assessment of
symptoms which could be associated with whole body
vibration and 9 individuals have been referred for both.
None of the individuals exposed to Ajax have had a
change in medical grading or been medically discharged
due to vibration.
I will continue to update the House on the number of
personnel affected by noise and vibration, including if any
trends become apparent once the data has been further
analysed.
3. Programmatic Issues
I have made clear that Ajax requires a full time,
dedicated Senior Responsible Owner. I am pleased to
report that we have now appointed David Marsh to the
position, who took up the role on 1 October with the
endorsement of the Infrastructure & Projects Authority.
As the new SRO, he is now in the process of reviewing
the Armoured Cavalry Programme to determine what
actions need to be taken to put the programme back on a
sound footing.
On 6 September, following authorisation by the Ajax
Safety Panel, the independent Millbrook trials
recommenced. As planned, and following a further
meeting of the Safety Panel, these trials continued at
Bovington to provide a wider range of surfaces on which
to test the vehicle. These trials involved General
Dynamics crew and real-time monitoring of noise and
vibration. Trials have been conducted on the turreted
AJAX variant and on the ARES variant, both of which
were Capability Drop 1 vehicles. The trials were run at
the Millbrook Proving Ground and at Bovington. This has
generated hundreds of Gigabytes of data which is
currently being processed. Subject to Safety Panel
authorisation, trials of a second ARES Capability Drop 1
vehicle will commence shortly at the Millbrook Proving
Ground. On 7 October the Safety Panel also authorised
military personnel to conduct essential maintenance on
the vehicle and marshalled movement.
Since my last statement data has continued to be
gathered and analysed to determine the root cause of
vibration in the vehicles. In parallel design modifications
have been developed to reduce the vibration experienced
by the crew. Testing continues to determine the
effectiveness of the modifications and whether they
would help ensure the vehicle meets the Army’s
requirement.
Investigations into excess noise also continue. An in-
line attenuator has been designed and we are now
validating its effectiveness to address the noise
transmitted through the communications headsets.
The focus for the MOD and General Dynamics remains
on delivering long-term solutions for noise and vibration
to ensure Ajax meets the Army’s need. Until then, it is not
possible to determine a realistic timescale for declaration
of Initial Operating Capability or the later introduction of
Ajax vehicles into operational service with the Army. We
will not accept a vehicle that is not fit for purpose.
Ajax is an important capability for the Army and we are
committed to working with General Dynamics for its
delivery. We have a robust, firm price contract with
General Dynamics under which they are required to
provide the vehicles as set out in the contract for the
agreed price of £5.5bn.
Blood Do

Lord Jim
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 19 Oct 2021, 15:07

Anyone care to breakdown the above statement into "Bullet Points", so we can see where things are going and where the programme stands now?

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby Ron5 » 20 Oct 2021, 14:27

From the Times today. Not a fan of the paper but here it is for what it's worth ..

Troops discharged with hearing problems after work on noisy Ajax tanks
Larisa Brown
Wednesday October 20 2021, 12.01am BST, The Times

Five soldiers who worked on the beleaguered £5.5 billion Ajax light tank programme have been discharged from the army or medically downgraded.

Jeremy Quin, the defence procurement minister, said those downgraded might require a “change of duties”. The Ministry of Defence does not yet know whether the problems were caused by their work on Ajax, but the figures raise questions as to why no one has been held to account because of the programme that is said to have had a “life-changing” impact on some soldiers.

The army is believed to have been dishonest about problems with Ajax prior to the integrated review, so the defence secretary did not axe it.

More than £3.2 billion has been paid to the British arm of the US defence contractor General Dynamics, though only a few of the vehicles, due between 2017 and 2024, have been delivered.

Ajax has been beset by delays and trials were suspended twice on health grounds after troops reported hearing problems and other issues with their joints due to noise and vibration.
Advertisement

John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, said: “This startling admission shows the scale of problems. Ministers are failing troops and taxpayers by failing to get a grip. Ajax is now on end-of-life watch. It won’t be operational by 2024 and risks leaving a hole in Britain’s war-fighting capability.”

Francis Tusa, a defence expert, said: “People are getting life-changing injuries as a result of working on this programme. The level of hearing damage is still unknown.” In a written statement to MPs Quin said a review on the vehicle was in its final stages. He referred to figures revealing that 310 personnel had been exposed to noise and vibration from Ajax by the end of September, 11 of whom were civilians and ten of whom are now veterans.

He said that of the 270 assessed, 231 were back on duty having maintained or returned to pre-exposure hearing levels. Of those 231, some 166 were receiving enhanced hearing surveillance.

Of the remaining 39, 34 were under outpatient care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

The remaining five had been medically downgraded or discharged “either for reasons unrelated to hearing or with hearing loss as a major or minor cause”.

Some in the defence industry believe that Ajax will be axed. A Whitehall source said: “The defence secretary has continued to put pressure on General Dynamics [but] the welfare of personnel comes first. He will not accept a vehicle that is not fit for purpose.”

mr.fred
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 20 Oct 2021, 14:55

Ron5 wrote:From the Times today. Not a fan of the paper but here it is for what it's worth ..

It’s better to read the original statement on Hansard that the Times has selectively lifted text from:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2 ... BE3E0406BF

What they leave out is interesting, both in its own right and that it has been left out, presumably to sell the story:
for example
Of the remaining 39 people who have been assessed, 34 remain under specialist outpatient care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham/Royal Centre for Defence Medicine; most of these are under-going a period of hearing rest prior to reassessment, at which point we expect a significant number to return to full duties.


I’ve underlined the bit that the Times left out.

RunningStrong
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 20 Oct 2021, 15:07

Francis Tulsa and the shovels of BS strike again :lol:

Breaking news, people in Army are exposed to loud noises. Annual hearing tests are provided to soldiers.

jonas
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby jonas » 20 Oct 2021, 15:17

For goodness sake bite the bullet and bin it. It's not like as if the MOD hasn't wasted billions before, so it doesn't come entirely as a shock. Time to stop buying gold plated, ultra expensive white elephants and go down the OTS path. Plenty of stuff coming onto the market which actually work.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby SD67 » 20 Oct 2021, 16:26

This is all before it has entered service, been thrashed, encountered an enemy and experienced weight growth. If it's not right on day one it never will be.

mr.fred
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 20 Oct 2021, 18:21

SD67 wrote:This is all before it has entered service, been thrashed, encountered an enemy and experienced weight growth. If it's not right on day one it never will be.

How many marks of Centurion, widely regarded as being the finest MBT ever made, were there? How many iterations of M1 Abrams or Leopard 2?

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby seaspear » 20 Oct 2021, 22:48

Is it curious that members of the armed forces are able to in this report decline to be tested ?

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whitelancer
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby whitelancer » 21 Oct 2021, 00:26

seaspear wrote:Is it curious that members of the armed forces are able to in this report decline to be tested ?

I found that rather odd, for two reasons first that they could refuse and second why they would.

"All 310 individuals exposed have been offered a vibration assessment, with around 125 having so far declined assessment."
Why would so many decline to be tested?

Then again this whole noise and vibration saga has been very odd.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Postby BB85 » 21 Oct 2021, 08:49

My guess is there is absolutely nothing wrong with the 125 who don't want to be tested for exposure to vibration and have no interest in submitting a personal injury claim.

The hearing issues I can understand especially if it was caused by the headsets amplifying the engine noise into the drivers ears which could turn out not to be a GDUK issue.


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