Despite health and safety concerns, the British Army’s £3.5bn tank delivery goes ahead

Ajax tank
Support us and go ad-free

The British Army’s £3.5bn fleet of Ajax tanks could cause tinnitus and joint problems for soldiers inside them. Despite the warnings carried in a leaked report, the MOD still says the new vehicles will be delivered and on time.

That leaked report is from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA). And the IPA believes the Ajax won’t be delivered on schedule.

Leaked report

Ajax is meant to replace the army’s ageing tank fleet, but the leaked assessment says the new vehicle faces multiple issues. These include:

  • An inability to reverse over obstacles higher than 20cm.
  • The tank can’t achieve its top speed of 40 mph.
  • Soldiers inside suffer joint swelling and hearing damage if they drive at more than 20mph.
  • Excessive vibration means crews are limited to 90 minutes at a time in the Ajax and have needed to take hearing tests.
  • The vibration also means the main weapon of the tank cannot be fired

Yet the MOD insists the vehicle will be delivered into service on time. Ajax is expected to enter service fully in 2024. This is despite the issues detailed in the leak forcing a six week pause to trials in 2021. Since the Ajax project began in 2010, development issues also caused an 18-month delay.


Defence procurement has long been a problem for the UK. In April this year The Canary reported that less than half of the combat jets on new aircraft carriers were British. The others are American.

The F-35 jets themselves were plagued with problems. In 2021, the US media claimed that the Pentagon’s own in-house report warned that the aircraft still had 871 existing problems. However, it’s hard to know what these are because the Pentagon hasn’t released the report yet.


Britain’s equipment problems have many causes. One of these is what one former army officer described in 2020 as “exceptionalism”.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

This egregious state of affairs is exacerbated by what defence analysis Francis Tusa has labelled “British exceptionalism”, sometimes described less kindly as “not invented here syndrome”

He described this as an:

institutionalised resistance in the equipment procurement system to anything that does not originate within the UK or from UK initiatives, which is surprising given that the British armed services are awash with weapons systems sourced from abroad. The “exceptionalism” bit kicks in when, even when accepting another country’s AFV, for example, as being the best fit for the requirement, there is insistence on a multitude of changes to make it “ours”.

As the Guardian points out:

Particular difficulty was caused by problems integrating a separately designed 40mm cannon insisted upon by the MoD

The US firm General Dynamics made Ajax and Lockheed Martin made the F-35. Both US companies. So once again the main beneficiaries of the UK’s military equipment programmes are big global arms firms.

Featured image via Wikipedia/Richard Watt MOD

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Probably get a better deal buying the new Russian frontline battle-tank. Of course, then the USA would slap CAATSA sanctions upon us.

      So NICE that the Brexshit screaming loons have brought genuine “Sovrinty” back to the UK.

      And that America genuinely believes in ‘free markets’.

      100-1 these new tanks will need £bns to maintain and keep running, and break down all the time like most new US military hardware.

      What a total waste of money and resources. And all just to make deathtraps for UK servicepersonnel in Ukraine so the neocons can willywag.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.