A 2016 AJAX prototype shown near its future assembly site in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

A 2016 AJAX prototype shown near its future assembly site in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. British Defense Imagery

British Defense Secretary Vows to Fix Tank that Deafens Troops

Wallace is to meet with the CEO of General Dynamics, maker of the Ajax light tank.

The U.K. defense secretary pledged to fix a troubled armored fighting vehicle that is reportedly so loud that soldiers are suffering hearing loss during military test trials.

During a visit to the United States this week, Wallace said he is scheduled to meet with Phebe Novakovic, CEO of General Dynamics, maker of the Ajax light tank.

“We’ve paid for a piece of equipment, we expect it to be delivered,” Ben Wallace said Tuesday during a press conference in Washington. “Just like any other consumer, we have those rights, and if it's not up to scratch, we'll take action.”

Earlier this month, The Times of London reported that “urgent talks” would be held to discuss the project’s future, after 20 soldiers suffered hearing loss during Ajax trials.

“We, both General Dynamics and the Army, have determined they're going to have to put this right,” Wallace said.

The U.K. Defence Ministry originally awarded the Ajax contract to U.S. weapons maker General Dynamics in 2010. The £4.62 billion ($6.4 billion) contract calls for 589 vehicles. So far, General Dynamics has delivered 25 to the British Army for acceptance trials. Another 91 Ajax vehicles are built and awaiting delivery, according to General Dynamics.

“We've already withheld significant amounts of money from progressing of the contract until we fix it,” Wallace said. “It has to be fixed.” 

The British Army halted Ajax trials late last year after troops reported hearing loss and joint pain from the tank vibrations. That led to operating restrictions, according to the BBC.

In prepared testimony for an upcoming Parliament Defense Committee hearing about Ajax, General Dynamics pledged to fix the tanks.

“While we work diligently to address concerns referenced in the question, we are confident we will be able to implement any appropriate actions,” the company said in the prepared testimony.

The company said “no other vehicle is available at this level of maturity” to meet the British Army’s requirements. 

“[General Dynamics Land System-UK] places the highest priority on the health and safety, general wellbeing, and protection of its employees, contractors, and customers, and takes seriously the health concerns raised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in regards to noise and vibration,” the company said in the prepared testimony. “GDLS–UK is working closely with the MoD and partners to understand the root causes of the concerns on noise and vibration, and GDLS–UK is taking the necessary measures to ensure the reported issues are addressed.”

The British defense secretary, who was a tank commander in the British Army when the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle was introduced in the 1980s, said new weapons projects typically “have teething problems,” but “this is more than a teething problem.”

“It's a troubled program, no one's hiding that,” he said. “We've got to get to the bottom of the problems with it.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.