This early live firing involved testing the main 40mm stabilised cannon and chain gun while the vehicle was static, and is being used to de-risk the formal firing programme that will take place later this year. This is the first time the weapon system has been fired while fitted to the AJAX platform and is a significant event in the delivery programme.
Throughout the test, AJAX had a huge amount of instrumentation filled to record all aspects of the firing, from recoil and blast stresses to fall of shot. The next test firing is planned for later this year, and once again will involve a fully instrumented vehicle and be used to gather further evidence before progressing to manned firing in early 2017. The test was conducted by General Dynamics-UK and Lockheed Martin-UK with the MOD observing.
The Senior Requirements Manager for the AJAX Programme, Lt Col David Cathro, said:
This a great achievement for the programme. The challenges in getting to this point should not be underestimated and today is the result of a lot of hard work by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, CTAI, DE&S and the Army. Seeing the firings today gives us confidence that the Army will receive this battle winning and transformational capability on time and to budget.
The AJAX platforms, consisting of six variants, are a new fleet of 589 armoured vehicles being developed for the British Army that will start being delivered to the Army in 2017. This capability will be at the heart of the Army’s new Strike Brigades, and represents a step change in the ability to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint.