Philip Dunne asks Defence Secretary Ben Wallace for an update on Ajax procurement, where supply chain is being geared up to produce full vehicle set. The Ministry of Defence Secretary of State said the vehicle has passed its user validation trials, and is now on its basic field trials and doing well.
Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)
Will the Secretary of State update the House on the status of the Ajax procurement programme? I understand that the supply chain is being geared up to produce 589 vehicles.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ben Wallace)
As my right hon. Friend will know, the Ajax was decided on in, I think, March 2010, under a Labour Government. As I have often said, it has been a troubled programme. Since I have taken over this office, we have sought to rectify the issue on almost a weekly basis, and with the determination of both the former Minister for Defence Procurement, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Jeremy Quin), and the current Minister, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk). The vehicle has passed its user validation trials and is now undergoing its basic field trials. It is doing extremely well, and I am given a weekly update.
Although the programme is being delayed—and we are doing our best to rectify that—overall it has not cost a single extra penny, because the contract, which was agreed under the Conservative Government after the selection of the vehicle by the Labour party, involved a fixed price. Yes, the programme is being delayed, but we are fixing it, and it is showing good progress.