Ministers have visited General Dynamics' factory in Wales to see two armoured vehicles before they are delivered to the British Army.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and Minister for the UK Government in Wales Guto Bebb toured the new facility at Merthyr Tydfil to see the final stages of testing.

They viewed a demonstration of the new Ares protected mobility vehicle, part of the £4.5 billion AJAX family.

Defence Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said:

“This is the Army's decision in terms of the vehicles that they need for the 21st century. This is, in fact, the largest order of Army vehicles for 30 years. (...) 

"One of the key differences on these vehicles is that they have got an amazing digital infrastructure and ability to communicate on the battlefield, and that's one of the key things that this new vehicle will bring to our armed forces."

The Army has ordered 589 AJAX armoured vehicles from General Dynamics - including the Ares model - which should be delivered between now and the end of 2024.

AJAX Harriett Baldwin British Army Sept 17

The next stage for these armoured vehicles is to undergo final testing at the Merthyr Tydfil facility, before being delivered to the Army.

The six variants in the AJAX programme will allow the Army's ‘Strike Brigades’ to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. 

They will operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments. 

Last year, the Defence Secretary hit back at criticism that the AJAX armoured vehicles would be "useless" against anything more than "incompetent enemies".