Land vehicles

Army Receives New Ares Armoured Vehicles

Named after the Greek god of war and part of the Ajax family, it will replace the CVR(T) vehicles after decades of service.

A British Army regiment has received six of the service's new armoured combat vehicles.

Arriving to the Household Cavalry Regiment at Bulford, Wiltshire, the Ares reconnaissance personnel carrier is part of the Ajax armoured vehicle family manufactured by General Dynamics.

In February 2019, the Army was given two of the vehicles, to be used for training purposes, according to General Dynamics.

Ares is set to replace the Army's Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) [CVR(T)] vehicles - a family of light-tracked vehicles which includes the Scimitar and the Spartan.

The CVR(T) vehicles have given four decades of service across multiple battlefields, such as the Middle East and the Falklands.

The new Ares model borrows its title from the Greek god of war of the same name.

Designed to tackle 21st-century threats, it is a fully digitised platform containing technology "normally seen on attack helicopters", according to Ares Instructor Corporal of Horse Sam Abbott.

"This is your battlefield winner now," he added.

"This is going to be at the head of the strike brigade and this is going to see more, hear more, destroy more."

Watch: In 2017, we were given an up-close tour around the Ares variant of the Ajax vehicle.

In total, there are six variants of Ajax which fulfill nine roles and the name can be applied to all of them, but specifically to the turreted version.

The group's features include 'Eyes' - an all-weather ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition) capability, and 'Ears' - vehicle-mounted 'Acusonic' acoustic shot detection systems.

"This is the newest vehicle that the British Army has," said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Berry.

He added that Ares is like a "giant armoured computer" and offers the service a "completely different capability.

"[Ares] is the troop-carrying variant and we will be employing it for armoured reconaissance," Lt Col Berry said.

"It's got amazing sensors, which really extend the soldier across the battlefield and allow him or her to see and feel and understand the battlefield in a way that we've never been able to before.

"This is fully digitised, an extraordinary platform, that essentially becomes an extension of the soldiers that operate it."

Ares variant of the Ajax armoured vehicle during a demonstration
The Ares variant of the Ajax armoured vehicle during a demonstration in 2017 (Picture: MOD).

The variants which make up the Ajax armoured vehicle family:

  • Ajax (turreted, reconnaissance and strike through a 40mm cannon);
  • Ares (reconnaissance and Armoured Personnel Carrier);
  • Argus (engineer reconnaissance);
  • Athena (command and control);
  • Atlas (equipment support recovery);
  • and Apollo (equipment repair).

Ajax Programme Director, Colonel Justin Kingsford said the arrival in Wiltshire marked an "exciting moment for the Army".

The vehicle was also hailed as part of the latest fighting family in the armoured vehicle world.

"Ajax will allow us to manage battlespace information faster from a modern digitised platform, with increased lethality through the new 40mm cannon," Col Kingsford added.

"Better mobility, alongside enhanced protection levels and increased reliability underline the transformational nature of the capability."