Ajax air deployability trials begin
Initial air portability testing for the Ajax vehicle has begun at the Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Brize Norton, General Dynamics Land Systems-UK announced on 28 June.
The Ares prototype platform was used in the trials, with the vehicle loaded into the cargo hold of an RAF C-17A Globemaster III and A400M Atlas. These are the key long-range transportation aircraft that will be used to transport the vehicles into theatre.
Ares was driven onto real-size mock-ups of each aircraft in order for JADTEU to develop a tie down scheme.
These trials are in support of work to ensure that the Ajax family of vehicles can be transported anywhere in the world in rapid time in support of British Army operations.
Lt General Paul Jaques, Chief of Materiel (Land) for the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said: ‘Ajax is the biggest armoured vehicle programme for a generation for the British Army. These trials mark significant progress in the programme; it is essential that these fully-digitised fighting vehicles, which will sit at the heart of the UK’s agile strike brigades, can be deployed at short notice worldwide to protect the UK and our interests.’
Kevin Connell, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems-UK, added: ‘The Ajax programme continues to make excellent progress during this trials period, with these successful trials following quickly on the back of early live fire trials in April. Thanks to the hard work of the project partners and our supply chain, we have been able to successfully demonstrate that the Ajax family meets a key requirement for air portability.’
The first British Army squadron will be equipped with Ajax by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.
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