Spending watchdog probes struggling UK tank program

The £ 5.5bn increase in problematic Ajax light tanks for the British Army will be subject to a full monetary audit by the Public Expenditure Oversight Agency.

The National Audit Office will investigate four armored vehicle programs. Ajax Project -And he said he would consider “systematic issues” in the administration of the Defense Ministry.

Ajax aimed to equip the military for the era of high-tech warfare. They were lethal, fast (maximum speed 70km / h), equipped with a powerful 40mm machine gun, and built to avoid detection by the enemy.

More than a decade after the Department of Defense signed a contract with U.S. defense contractor General Dynamics for a family of 589 vehicles, Purchasing Minister Jeremy Quinn admitted the program could be suspect. I did.

Gareth Davies, head of NAO, said his team will be considering the Ajax, Boxer, Challenger and Warrior programs. In a letter to Defense Secretary John Healy seen by the Financial Times, Davis said the aim was to prepare a report in March of next year.

Delivery of Ajax vehicles to the military should have started four years ago, and none of the 26 vehicles currently delivered have entered service.

Instead, the vehicle was tested twice due to concerns that excessive noise and vibration was causing hearing loss for the crew.

There are reports that vehicles cannot fire cannons while in motion – claims General Dynamics denies. The company said last month that all six variants are in full production and that 116 vehicles are in the process of being manufactured, delivered or handed over.

Quinn told parliamentarians last month:

Earlier this year, Healy asked NAO to investigate, expressing concern about “fundamental vehicle flaws, secrets of terms and conditions” and “significant costs and one-sided risks” to taxpayers.

Healy said: “These vehicles are critical to the future of our military, but a decade of supply failures has squandered millions and made our military personnel more vulnerable on the battlefield.”

In March, the Commons Defense Committee report indicated that “bureaucratic procrastination, military decisions, financial deficiencies and general inadequacy” would “defeat” potential enemies. Warned that the military would be placed at “serious risk”.

A spokesperson for the mod said, “We want the military to deliver the best ships, planes and vehicles, while still delivering cost performance at all stages of the procurement program.”

The Defense Ministry has said it supports the review as it implements the “ambitious modernization” plan outlined in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Foreign Policy Review earlier this year. . The Ajax light tank was an important part of the army’s new strategy.

A spokesperson said: ‘Through new streamlined processes and the development of delivery-oriented industrial contracts, we have achieved economic savings of over £ 6.2 billion in equipment planning since 2016 and £ 3 billion between 2021 and 2025. We plan to be more efficient. ”

GD promised FT last month that he would “work closely with the British military to provide this transformative capability” and “will fully support the Department of Defense in putting this critical platform into operation”. Noted.

Expenditure Watchdog Probes Struggling British Tanks Program Source Link Spending Watchdog Probes Struggling British Tanks Program


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