General Dynamics [GD] completed the successful early live firing test program for the British Army’s new AJAX Armored Fighting Vehicle platform, the company said Wednesday.
The firing involved testing the main 40mm CTA International stabilized cannon and chain gun while the vehicle remained static, the first time while the weapon was fitted to the AJAX. This early testing supports the de-risking of the formal firing program, set to occur later in 2016, GD said.
For the test, the AJAX was fitted with instruments to record all aspects of the firing, including recoil, blast stresses, and fall of shot.
AJAX is being designed with six variants for multiple missions and environments, set for delivery between 2017 and 2024. It was chosen by the British military to replace the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) armored fighting vehicles.
The test occurred at a range in mid-Wales and was conducted by GD with turret developer Lockheed Martin [LMT] while the U.K. Ministry of Defence observed.
“This is a great achievement for the program. The challenges in getting to this point should not be underestimated and today is the result of a lot of hard work,” Lt Col David Cathro, senior requirements manager for the AJAX program, said in a statement.
“Seeing the firings today gives us confidence that the British Army will receive this battle-winning and transformational capability on time and to budget,” Cathro added.
“Working together with our industry partners, customer and end-user, we are developing a platform that the British Army can rely upon, even in the most difficult terrains,” Kevin Connell, vice president of GD’s UK Land Systems division, said in a statement.
The first British Army squadron is expected to be equipped with AJAX systems by mid-2019 so conversion can begin. A brigade equipped with AJAX vehicles is planned to be ready to deploy by the end of 2020.