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Ajax Armoured Vehicle Programme and The Army personnel suffering hearing loss

To highlight Deafness Awareness Week this year between 6-12 May we report on the latest in the Ajax vehicle programme.

To date over £4 billion has been spent on the Ajax programme yet only 44 of these vehicles have been delivered to service in the British Army, according to the Labour Party findings. 

This announcement came before recent announcements from the government that it intended to increase Ministry of Defence (MoD) spending to 2.5% of GDP. 

While, the Ajax programme is another example of poor procurement practices and overspends by the MoD similar to that relating to the Royal Navy’s procurement of HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, it’s important to consider this in the context of the topical subject of security in a world increasingly at war in 2024.

What are Ajax armoured vehicles?

Ajax is a family of network-enabled armoured vehicles intended to meet the Army’s requirement to operate effectively in the digital battlespace. The MoD published its last review in December 2021 to confirm that the Armoured Cavalry programme covering a family of six armoured vehicles. ‘AJAX’ refers to the individual variant. The six variants are:

  • AJAX - turreted version fitted with 40mm cannon;
  • ARES - armoured personnel carrier;
  • ATHENA - command and control;
  • ARGUS - engineer reconnaissance;
  • ATLAS - recovery vehicle;
  • APOLLO - repair vehicle.

Problems with Ajax

Ajax is being developed and manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems UK (GDUK), the prime contractor, supported by GD European Land Systems, GD Mission Systems and other second party sub-contractors.

A review in 2021 concluded that GDUK has designed and built what the MoD itself describes as a vehicle which is not fit for purpose and does not meet the contracted specification.

The root cause that allowed a vehicle to cause potential harm to army personnel through noise and vibration during the trials process was not a failure of a single individual or defence organisation. It was a complex combination of the Armed Forces’ relationship to harm and weaknesses in MoD’s acquisition system. The impact of Covid was also felt, both delaying trials and making communication more difficult.

Unsurprisingly the Ajax trials were suspended in December 2020 due to severe noise and vibration issues affecting the health of hundreds of personnel involved in the vehicle’s testing.

This time last year the MoD was challenged on these points and in particular was asked about the on-going issues with the Ajax Armoured Vehicle program and identified issues and how the government intends to support those still serving members of the Armed Forces who have been affected. 

Lawyers supporting armed forces personnel affected by Ajax issues and hearing loss

Whilst there were reported improvements in the program being ‘back on track’ this unfortunately comes as too little too late for those already affected. 

Over the last few years a number of military personnel instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how they have been left with hearing loss after working on the Ajax Armoured Vehicle Programme. 

Those who have instructed Irwin Mitchell and are still serving were based at the General Dynamic Facility in Merthyr Tydfil and were responsible for testing Ajax vehicles. This involved a rigorous testing routine with a various personnel.

What our investigations have revealed is that there were issues around vibration and noise from these vehicles which had been raised prior to any specific issues being identified, but it appeared that no further action had been taken at the time. Those service personnel that Irwin Mitchell are helping have also been affected with their mental health as a result of their ongoing injuries.

Irwin Mitchell has now commenced formal proceedings against the MoD in these claims in which those affected have been either been medically discharged because of their various injuries working on the Ajax program or have felt compelled to leave The Army as they could no longer cope with their suffering. A large number of these individuals are also suffering with psychiatric symptoms from the associated noise related tinnitus.

Following the service of proceedings the MoD admitted breach of duty,(subject to medical causation) in all of these claims which is a step in the right direction. This means that the MoD admit it was at fault for negligently exposing those working on the program to damaging levels of noise and vibration.


Nothing can make up for my client’s lost career in The Army as a result of damaging levels of exposure resulting in noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, vibration and psychiatric injuries. 

My clients have lost their careers and for those affected serving in The Army and serving their country was all they ever dreamed of so the impact is great. I will use my best endeavours to ensure that those affected are compensated for their lost careers and do all we can to help and support their families. 

It's deeply concerning that hundreds have been affected and we will continue do all we can to support those affected and their families.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting armed forces personnel following injury at our dedicated military injuries section. More information on the Ajax vehicles can be found at our Ajax claims section.