Shambolic £5.5BN tank which deafened troops given green light after six years of problems

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A shambolic £5.5billion tank that deafened troops and could not fire on the move is set to enter service after it underwent serious development and was given the green light yesterday. The Ajax light tank, which is already six years late, passed performance tests set by defence chiefs this week.

Procurement minister Alex Chalk yesterday confirmed that it would be going ahead.

He said: “We have turned a corner. A great deal of work has taken place and it has successfully completed its trials.”

The tank has been plagued with issues throughout its development.

During trials, hundreds of troopers were left injured from noise, causing some to be medically discharged from the Army as a result of hearing loss.

In 2019, the tank shook so violently and made so much noise that over 300 troops involved in the testing were advised to seek medical help.

The vehicle, which was meant to enter service in 2017, was commissioned 12 years ago.

The Ministry of Defence agreed a £5.5billion contract with General Dynamics UK for 589 Ajax armoured vehicles.

The Ajax tank is meant to give soldiers unparalleled protection and deliver a lethal punch from its 40mm cannon, but not a single vehicle has yet entered service.

“The fault lies squarely with defence equipment and support mismanagement, Army meddling and MoD avoidance of independent scrutiny.”

Meanwhile, Lord West, the former head of the Navy last month said: “The Ajax programme, no matter how much one dresses it up, has been a complete and utter disaster.”

He added: “It has been a real shambles.”

And Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, branded the project a “complete mess”.

Nearly 600 Ajax armoured vehicles have been ordered.