Ajax is a family of tracked armoured vehicles that will enter service with the British Army to replace the seventies era Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family.
It is derived from Spanish/Austrian ASCOD Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
Ajax has a number of variants and within those variants, a number of roles.
The current planned production quantities are as follows:
|Previous Designation||Quantity||New Designation||Quantity|
|SV SCOUT Reconnaissance and Strike||198||Ajax – Ajax Reconnaissance and Strike||198|
|SV SCOUT Joint Fire Control||23||Ajax – Ajax Joint Fire Control||23|
|SV SCOUT Ground Based Surveillance||24||Ajax –`Ajax Ground Based Surveillance||24|
|SV PMRS Armoured Personnel Carrier||59||Ajax – Ares||93|
|SV PMRS Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch||34|
|SV PMRS Command and Control||112||Ajax – Athena||112|
|SV PMRS Engineer Reconnaissance||51||Ajax – Argus||51|
|SV EQUIPMENT SUPPORT Recovery||38||Ajax – Atlas||38|
|SV EQUIPMENT SUPPORT Repair||50||Ajax – Apollo||50|
‘Greek hero notable for strength and courage’
Ajax is the turreted variant of Ajax, bear with me!
It comprises three roles, Reconnaissance and Strike; Joint Fire Control and Ground Based Surveillance.
Joint Fire Control will be used to coordinate land and sea based ‘artillery’ and air delivered munitions. The Ground Based Surveillance role will utilise a ground surveillance radar used dismounted from the vehicle. It will not be integrated with the vehicle, unlike CVR(T) and TRACER.
All have a crew of 3 and an additional seat in the rear compartment that is used for ammunition stowage and electronic equipment.
‘God of war’
Ares provides protected mobility for up to 4 dismounted personnel and a crew of 2.
‘God of healing’
Apollo provides repair capability in conjunction with Atlas. It can tow a high mobility trailer that carries spare power packs, has a 5 tonne capacity telescoping jib crane that can lift the Ajax powerpack, stabilisation system, auxiliary power unit and a range of repair equipment. The crane can also lift out its own powerpack.
‘God who carried the world’
Atlas is fitted with a 300kn main winch and 8kn secondary winch, and an earth anchor and is used primarily for recovering other members of the Ajax family. It has a crew of 3.[tabs] [tab title=”Atlas Image 1″]
‘all seeing giant’
Argus is the combat engineering reconnaissance and will be fitted with specialist computing equipment, lane marking equipment, a demountable dozer blade and systems to measure slope and gap width. It has a crew of 2 and can carry four dismounted personnel.[tabs] [tab title=”Argus”]
‘Greek Goddess of intelligence, battle strategy and wisdom’
With a crew of 5, Athena provides the ‘on the move’ command and control function and will be fitted with a range of displays and computing systems and silent auxiliary power unit.
Weights and Measures
Ajax is 7.62m long, and 3.53m wide. Height depends on variant, the turreted versions are 3m high without antenna and RWS.
The layout is driver in the hull next to the powerpack/transmission with a 2-man turret containing a gunner and commander. Seating is available in crew compartment for a couple of passengers. The non-turreted variants have a crew of between two and four with some having seating for additional passengers.
Combat weight is reported to be 34 tonnes and the vehicle is rated to 38 tonnes with a defined potential for 42 tonnes maximum weight. At a Gross Vehicle Weight of 38 tonnes, the power to weight ratio is 21 HP/tonne that enables a top speed of 70kph and good acceleration.
Maximum range is reported to be 500km.
Protection is reported to be very high, both against ballistic threats, HEAT type warheads and explosives/mines, although (rightly) no details have been released.
Appliqué protection can be added to increase protection, especially on the hull sides.
Permali will provide composite panels for Ajax in a £15 million contract.[adrotate group=”1″]
Lockheed Martin ae responsible for the Ajax turret. The turret structure is manufactured by Rheinmetall Defence under a €130 million contract for the production of 245 Turret Structure and Weapons Mount (TSWM) and integration of the 40mm CTA Cannon.
The turret is based on the Lance Modular Turret.
Meggitt provide the ammunition handling systems. Under a £27.2 million contract. Curtiss Wright provide the Turret Drive Servo System (TDSS) that provides 2 axis stabilisation and turret aiming under a £32 million contract.
The turret is armed with the 40mm Cased Telescoped Weapon System from CTA International (see separate Appendix)
In addition to the 40mm main weapon, Ajax is fitted with a coaxial Heckler & Koch L94A1 7.62 mm chain gun.
Under a £61 million contract Kongsberg will supply Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) armed with a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG).
The protector RWS will be fitted to all variants but when fitted to the turreted variant, the Orion primary sight removed, it is either/or, not[tabs] [tab title=”Kongsberg RWS”]
The UK has also trialled a Protector RWS with a Javelin missile fit, on a CVR(T) Spartan, this may well end up meeting the overwatch role but obviously without the Orion sight.
Sensors, Systems and Self Defence
Ajax is a vehicle packed full of electronics to enable it to perform its role, it needs great sensors and a means of distributing and managing the deluge of information generated by them.
A £125 million contract covered sighting systems and ancillary equipment including the Orion primary sight, local situational awareness cameras and 76mm smoke dischargers.
The Orion is described as:
It is fully stabilised, has 360o continuous rotation, long range and wide angle sensors, Gigabit Ethernet interface, high definition resolutions and automated target detection/tracking. The main sensor is a Thales Catherine MP IR Camera. It also has a Video Eyesafe Laser Transceiver (VELT) laser rangefinder.[tabs] [tab title=”Thales Orion, LSAS and Smoke Dischargers”]
[tab title=”Thales Catherine Video”]
A separate £54 million contract covered gunnery sights. The DNGS-T3 Stabilised Day/Night Gunnery Sight is stabilised, fitted with two HD sensors, thermal imager, eye safe laser rangefinder and a Gigabit Ethernet interface.
Acoustic sensors and laser/infra-red warning receivers are also fitted, the latter from Elbit Systems. E-LAWS detects and classifies threats, warns the crew and initiates countermeasures such as multi-spectral smoke. It has also been reported that Ajax is fitted with an IR jammer.[tabs] [tab title=”Elbit E-LAWS Image 1″]
The sensor data has to be processed, manipulated, stored and transmitted.
GE automation have received two contracts, one for £3.25 million and the other for £64 million for embedded computing systems and video switches, Ethernet switches, gateway processors, data servers and video servers.
It is a bespoke solution but based on existing commercial products like single board computers Ethernet switches.
ViaSat, in a £3.8m contract, will supply encrypted storage systems.
The system is the same as that used on the Wildcat helicopter and Watchkeeper T-UAS.
The sighting system data sharing platform is PrismTech’s Vortex OpenSplice. OpenSplice is an implementation of the Object Management Group’s Data Distribution Service (OMG DDS) standard. It is a middleware software application used on real-time embedded servers and will be used to share information between crew stations, recording and replay of that information at very high speeds.
Taken together, these are the engine of the Ajax of electronic system.
Esterline (formerly Barco) provide the display systems for driver, commander, gunner and other crew. Supplied under £13.5 million contract the rugged display terminals are specifically designed for harsh conditions and for night vision compatibility.
The Codis TX-335S turret crew-station displays gun control, local situational awareness, logistics and system information on a 13” backlit 1600×1200 display panel with 20 programmable function keys. The driver is provided with a Codis TX-321S triple-head display, the three 8” screens providing a resolution of 3072×768. Codis VPU-101 video-processing units delivers aggregation, manipulation and distribution of IP based video using a 10Gbs optical network connectivity.
Esterline also supply the Racal Acoustics RA195 iCombat high noise headsets.
Navigation systems will be provided by Honeywell. The TALIN inertial land navigation features ring laser-gyro and accelerometers to provide accurate positioning information, supported by GPS, but not wholly reliant on it.
Communication between and power to the systems within the turret and the base vehicle is via a slip ring produced by Moog.
The Vitavox OUTACOM public address system will enables direct communication from inside the vehicle at a range of up to 300m.
The system will be integrated with each of the Ajax variants.[tabs] [tab title=”Outacom”]
Kent Periscopes will supply the drivers hatch periscope, turret periscopes and the commander’s auxiliary sight.[tabs] [tab title=”Kent Periscopes”]
Smiths Detection systems provide Ajax with a chemical attack warning system under a £6m contract. Vehicle integration uses the Auto Inlet Module (AIM) and the LCD can be remotely operated. Although the system will operate from vehicle power supplies, it can also be its own batteries. The LCD 3.3 system features a high sensitivity sensor to detect a wide range of chemical weapons.
To improve gunnery accuracy a meteorological sensor mast and analysis system will be fitted.
Raytheon will supply the power management and distribution system including the Power Switch Node (PSN) that provides 16 channels of solid state power switching controlled by the data bus.
In a £17m contract, Williams F1 Advanced Engineering will provide the Core Infrastructure Distribution System (CIDS). CIDS provides a ring of power, data and signalling lines throughout the vehicle, one for the turret and one for the hull, with the Moog slip ring providing connectivity between the two.
This approach has resulted in a 20% weight saving and is is compliant with GVA. CIDS ring sections come in a series connected lengths that make troubleshooting and replacement easier with connection nodes at regular intervals.
Connecting some of these systems is a wiring harness by Rockford under a £20m contract shared with Warrior CSP.
Ajax will come into service with the BOWMAN communication system and retrofitted with MORPHEUS (BOWMAN replacement) in due course.
The Ajax powerpack will be the V8 15.9 Litre Rolls Royce/MTU 8V199 diesel engine supplied under a £58m contract. The 8V 199 TE21 engine is the same fitted to Boxer but has been upgraded to deliver 600 kW (800 HP). Rolls Royce/MTU will also provide the cooling system and two 550A generators per engine. A Renk 256B automatic transmission delivers power to the tracks and has 6 forward and 5 reverse gears.
Suspension is of standard torsion bar and hydraulic damper design and the TR40 505FB double pin tracks are from Cook Defence Systems.
[/tab] [tab title=”Saab Barracuda Video 2″]
The training solution for Ajax will make extensive use of virtual systems. XPI Simulation, a Thales company, and Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group will produce 28 full motion simulators under a £20 million contract.
The full training system will provide:
This is the first system to be fully compliant with MOD’s Defence, Training and Education Coherence (DTEC) rule set.
Showing the progress of Ajax, with ASCOD and SV Scout inbetween.[tabs] [tab title=”Video 1″]
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British Army Medium Weight Capability – Table of Contents
What this document is, sources and acknowledgements, and what this document is not
Saladin and Saracen enter service, early work on their replacement commences and completes. The FV432 enters service, and the BMP-1 does likewise, work on Warrior gains pace.
CVR(T) and CVR(W) enter service, and the rapid deployment concept cuts its teeth with the C-130
CVR(T) continues to be developed and sees action in in the Falkland Islands and Warrior enters service. Oh, and Saxon.
A decade of major change; the end of the Cold War, operations in the Gulf and the Balkans. The microprocessor and communications revolution. VERDI, FFLAV, WASAD and the rise of the acronym in defence. ASCOD, CV90 and others developed. Protected mobility becomes a requirement, again, and finally, interesting materials development make an appearance in the defence vehicle world.
Three vehicle development projects that would have importance to the ongoing story of developing a medium weight capability.
Important milestones in the development of medium weight capabilities, a trip across the Sava and WWIII averted at an airport.
The Future Combat System, the UK follows suit, FRES and being a force for good.
2001 to 2004, TRACER and MRAV continue but the new kid on the block called FRES is starting to take over whilst the shadow of Iraq falls on the project.
Between 2005 and 2007 the Army experienced significant change. FRES picked up speed but operations in Iraq overshadowed the medium weight concept.
2008 to 2009, it becomes increasingly difficult to balance the needs of operations with the desire to transform and bring FRES to fruition at the same time.
2010 to 2011, putting the embarrassment of FRES UV behind it, the Army switches to FRES SV, a replacement for CVR(T)
2012 to 2014, as an end to the Afghanistan deployment drew near, Scout continued and attention turned to Warrior.
2015 to 2017, a new medium weight capability vision emerges, and this requires a new vehicle, the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV), but before that, Multi Role Vehicle (MRV).
A few thoughts and opinions.
Weights, measures, variants and roles
A revolution in medium calibre weapons, but can we afford it?
The essential glue that binds the increasing quantity of vehicle electronics