What Is The AJAX Vehicle?
The AJAX, formerly known as the Scout SV (Specialist Vehicle) was renamed in 2015 and is part of a family of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs).
AJAX will be a fully-digitised, tracked, medium weight core of the British Army’s deployable ISTAR capability and will providing a full suite of medium-armoured vehicles and capabilities.
How Many Variants Of AJAX Are There?
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.
- Ajax (turreted, reconnaissance and strike)
- Ares (reconnaissance and Armoured Personnel Carrier)
- Argus (engineer reconnaissance)
- Athena (command and control)
- Atlas (equipment support recovery)
- Apollo (equipment repair)
A new AJAX variant was this month revealed, called 'Overwatch'.
The vehicle could operate in the vanguard of the British Army's future Heavy Brigade and Deep Recce Strike Combat Teams, providing vital force protection for the more dispersed force and ensuring the integrity of long-range persistent surveillance.
What Are The Key Features Of AJAX?
- 'Eyes'-all weather ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition) capability
- 'Ears'-vehicle-mounted 'Acusonic' acoustic shot detection systems
- Combat power capability (digital fire control systems)
- Digital infrastructure (all crew have access to 360° live data)
- Protection (levels are classified)
- Reduced logistic footprint
The unique ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition) and sensor capability of the Ajax is incredible and its intelligent architecture allows the capture, process and storage of data from multiple AJAX platforms (which can be shared via a real-time communication system) and will allow a close-up picture of the battlefield for remote headquarters.
Its stabilised system provides on-the move target engagement and surveillance capability. The vehicle contains 360° Situational Awareness Systems and thermal imagers and cameras which enable day/night/long range/infrared/laser search and detection.
Protection in the vehicle defends the crew against multiple threats and includes chemical detection,laser and missile warning systems. AJAX will have three vehicle-mounted Acusonic acoustic shot detection sensors that can detect the direction of incoming fire.
What Weapon Systems Does AJAX Have?
The primary armourment is the CTAI 40 mm CTAS (Cased Telescoped Armament System) integrated into a revolutionary user-defined turret, along with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The Primary Sight can be replaced with a fully stabilised Remote-Weapon system and its digital fire control system enables AJAX to fire on the move.
CT40 can conduct ‘smart fires’ which means they can fire; air burst rounds (13,000 sq ft coverage), point detonating rounds (can defeat 8.3” reinforced concrete) and armour piercing rounds (can penetrate 140 mm hardened steel armour).
Where Can AJAX Operate?
Its turret elevation range means it can engage aerial and urban targets. It has been tested in arctic conditions of -31 in Sweden and has successfully completed water obstacle trials to manoeuvre on and off landing craft.
How Many AJAX Will The MoD Have?
There were 589 vehicles that were part of a £4.5 billion deal. The first six ARES were delivered in February 2019 and the rest will be delivered by 2024.
-245 AJAX -93 ARES -51 ARGUS
-112 ATHENA- 38 ATLAS -50 APOLLO
AJAX is intended to support the British Army's new Strike Brigades, Armoured Cavalry Regiments, Armoured and Armoured Infantry battlegroups and Combat Support elements.
As detailed in last month's Defence Command Paper, new British Army Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) will make use of the AJAX's sensors, combining them with enhanced fires systems to provide long-range persistent surveillance.
Cover image: Ajax pictured at DSEI. Credit: Sgt Peter Devine, Crown Copyright.