LONDON, March 8 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Land Systems-UK has inaugurated a new facility in Wales for the assembly of Ajax armored fighting vehicles for the British military.
The facility, a disused forklift truck plant near the town of Merthyr Tydfil, will undergo refurbishment this year and will be fully operational in 2017, the Ministry of Defense said.
Ajax, formerly known as the Scout SV, is a family of six tracked medium-weight variants that use an adaptable common base platform and maximum commonality in electronic architecture.
Britain's Ministry of Defense ordered 589 of the modular armored vehicles for about $553.8 million and support services for them.
"Ajax represents the biggest single order for armored vehicles for the British Army in three decades," said Maj. Gen. Robert Talbot-Rice. head of Armored Vehicles at the MOD's Defense Equipment and Support organization. "Today's [Monday's] opening is a big step towards fulfilment of this huge national project to put world-beating equipment into our soldiers' hands.
"The design of Ajax builds on lessons learned on the battlefield. It is the Army's first fully digitized armored vehicle, able to tackle the world's toughest terrain and highly resilient against likely threats."