Written Evidence submitted by Lockheed Martin UK


  1. Lockheed Martin is the fifth largest supplier by revenue to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with over 80 years of heritage in the UK.  Lockheed Martin UK (LMUK) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation.  It employs approximately 1,800 people.  Lockheed Martin spends on average £1.6 billion each year in the UK, supporting over 1,000 British companies (80 per cent of which are SMEs), and 20,000 jobs


  1. LMUK provides the turret system for the AJAX Programme, as a subcontractor to General Dynamics UK (GDUK).  This submission provides evidence regarding the capability of the AJAX Turret, based on knowledge gained to date from the Programme.  As there is high commonality across AJAX and the recently cancelled Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), the submission also draws on the invaluable experience gained from the recent WCSP qualification and reliability growth programmes.  WCSP was led by LMUK as the prime contractor.


  1. LMUK has full confidence in the capability and safety of the turret capability. Over 60 ‘production turrets have been delivered for the AJAX Programme, through the UK’s Turret Centre of Excellence at Ampthill.  The turret system is at high maturity, and is in platform qualification and reliability growth trials led by GDUK, as platform prime for AJAX.  The turret system has been assured through extensive risk reduction and trials to validate the design, including to the challenging standards and safety requirements demanded by the MoD (through GDUK as prime contractor).


  1. The performance credentials of the turret system, including their inherent safety, have already been proved through WCSP.  AJAX has received significant benefit from the read across from WCSP, including LMUK’s development processes, staff skills, supply chain, and integration of complex lethality subsystems.


  1. No concerns have been reported about the AJAX Turret, by the MoD or GDUK.  LMUK continues to meet its contractual obligations for the demonstration and manufacturing phases of the turrets, including an extensive suite of modern Turret Training Equipment and In-service Support arrangements.


Developed Capabilities


  1. LMUK established an Armoured Fighting Vehicle Turret Centre of Excellence at Ampthill, allowing it concurrently to deliver WCSP (as prime contractor), deliver the AJAX Programme requirement of 245 turrets (as a subcontractor to General Dynamics), and pursue various export opportunities (including turret and mission system integration for the Boxer and Patria AMV vehicles).  Lockheed Martin has invested £12 million in developing this facility, which is the UK’s only sovereign capability for the design, development, and manufacture of digital turrets. This sovereign facility designs, develops and manufactures digital turrets end-to-end, with capacity for multi-platform volume and demands.


  1. In 2018, the first AJAX ‘production turret was shipped to GDUK. LMUK has consistently maintained delivery to support GDUK’s requirements needs. Over 60 production turrets have been delivered on schedule, which meet build quality and performance targets.


  1. The Turret Training system comprises a suite of modern digital equipment which emulates the architecture of the AJAX turret, including:-


a.      Desk Top Trainer – in use with the MoD (4 deployed systems);


b.      Crew Turret Trainer – in use with the MoD (5 deployed systems);

c.      Pre-brief and After Action Review Shelterin use with MOD (1 deployed system); and


d.      Small Arms Drill Trainer in use with the MoD (3 deployed system).


  1. This suite of training equipment has been fielded in advance of GDUK’s platform delivery to the user to allow the training of the first cohorts of AJAX operators.  This has been delivered to GDUK’s needs, and is in active use with the British Army.  Positive user feedback has been received in terms of this equipment’s training effectiveness and utility.


Confidence by Design


  1. LMUK has unique Intellectual Property (IP) in the design of modern weapons systems, particularly in the integration of high-performance fire control systems with open architecture interfaces (GVA), and the wider communications infrastructure that create a seamless weapon system suitable for modern warfare. This IP has been established, deployed and grown through multiple programmes. This re-use has allowed the AJAX turret to benefit from the parallel development and qualification work performed on WCSP.  Both programmes shared a common CT40 cannon and weapon system integration approach and more importantly common sub-systems. The benefits exploited include:-


  1. The CT40 cannon installation, including the Cannon Control Unit and Ammunition Handling System development;


  1. The modern digitised fire control system and ballistic solution algorithms;


  1. A common supply chain providing an extensive range of support and expertise; and


  1. The work to support the fielding of a fleet of Demonstration Vehicles required to provide objective evidence for customer system acceptance and safe use.


In addition, The WCSP and AJAX Programmes had similar platform variant requirements


  1. In most cases, WCSP system qualification and field trials with the Army have been in advance of the AJAX programme, particularly in the areas of weapon system safety clearance for troop trials, platform qualification (against stringent Defence Standards), and reliability growth trials (RGT). At the time of the MoD’s decision to terminate the WCSP contract, WCSP had delivered 80 per cent of the evidence required for customer acceptance, and had approved safety clearances from the MoD to conduct manned turret operations with Army personnel, including all modes of manned live fire. It had also completed 80 per cent of RGT, and remained on track to successfully deliver System Design Acceptance to schedule.  This WCSP field trial evidence (accumulated over two years) has provided LMUK with an invaluable source of read across evidence regarding the capability and maturation credentials of the AJAX turret. WCSP also benefitted from having a higher standard of CT40 Cannon baseline incorporated into its requirements, notably the inclusion of compatibility with the Air Burst Munition which has yet to be contracted by the MoD for AJAX.


  1. Following early and successful formal AJAX turret design reviews, supported by the MoD, the design solution was approved through a Critical Design Review (CDR) in 2014, and a dedicated Ampthill production facility was built to accommodate a new production line thereby establishing the capacity required by the turret delivery schedule. This facility has been successfully commissioned and has achieved the throughput and quality standard required by GDUK. A formal quality assurance handover process is applied to each new build turret, the early units having been witnessed by MoD representatives.
  2. In conjunction with the AJAX and WCSP turret and vehicle integration for MoD, the Turret Centre of Excellence has also undertaken turret and mission system integration work on a range of platforms in the pursuit of export opportunities, including Boxer and Patria AMV.


Confidence by Trial


  1. The first AJAX development turret, to support Turret and Platform level system qualification, was built in 2015 following CDR.  Since this point, the AJAX development turrets have gone through successive trials demonstrating successful operation. Early Live Fire trials were initiated in 2016 successfully allowing the crew to demonstrate accurate and effective firings.


  1. Throughout this period, the GDUK programme has continued to progressively build up platform integration trials and incorporate their latest changes. This has seen successful progress through all reviews, and successful achievement of trials needs at each point LMUK have been requested. GDUK trials have progressed from successful Static Vehicle versus Static Target firings, and will ultimately qualify Moving versus Static and Moving targets.


  1. LMUK has full confidence in this sequence, as it has already demonstrated the process through the WCSP qualification activities, where Fire On The Move was successfully completed in 2019 as part of their formal RGT.


  1. Notable achievements of the AJAX turret include:-


First Unmanned Live Fire

April 2016

First Manned Live Fire

October 2017

Hot Trials in Seville

July 2018

Manned Live Fire Static vehicle firing at Static target

July 2018

Cold trials in Sweden (included Manned Live Fire)

January 2019

Manned Live Fire Static vehicle firing at Moving targe

June 2019

Manned Live Fire Armour Piercing Rounds

October 2019


  1. The AJAX Turret is highly integrated with the GDUK missions systems (hosted in the turret), and the base platform. LMUK is therefore wholly dependent on the base platform to achieve final certification for safety and performance. In support of GDUK’s led AJAX qualification programme, LMUK is following the same process as successfully demonstrated under WCSP (and under MoD observation), whereby sub-system and system certification and safety evidence is progressively built up and assured through a controlled integration and verification processThis robust verification approach was ultimately proven through an extensive and exhaustive Reliability Growth programme conducted with British Army users on multiple platforms.


  1. AJAX will execute a minimum of 110 battlefield missions, providing repeated exercises with extensive vehicle running on varied terrains and comprehensive firings. This test profile is very similar to WCSP’s Reliability Growth programme (119 battlefield missions involving 23,000km of mobility, 5,700 cannon firings and 123,000 chain gun firings). Currently the AJAX Turret (on the GDUK platform) has accumulated 5,088 CT40 cannon firings in its qualification programme.  WCSP demonstrated 80 per cent completion of its qualification programme (the more significant requirements being demonstrated early), and remained fully on track to contracted reliability and performance at its cancellation point. It is expected that AJAX Turret system will demonstrate this same level of maturity, given the same LMUK processes and techniques have been used through requirements development, design, build, and test, and the shared heritage in terms of common sub-systems and supply chain.  




  1. The credentials of the Turret system have been proven through high maturity trials, such as WCSPLMUK has full confidence in the capability and safety of the AJAX Turret capability. Stringent regulations, Defence Standards, and safety requirements have been incorporated into LMUK’s product development and trials processes to accrue the evidence required to assure the MoD on this, due to the nature of the manned weapon system.  Over 60 AJAX production turrets have been delivered through the UK’s Turret Centre of Excellence at Ampthill, and LMUK remains on track to complete this important Army concept.  


  1. No concerns have been reported about the AJAX Turret, by the MoD or GDUK.  LMUK  is dependent on the performance of General Dynamic’s base platform to achieve final certification for safety and performance of the Turret.


  1. Digitised turrets are a core element of the British Army’s modernisation programmes. Their open architecture allows the insertion of on-platform capabilities, such as Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), increased Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), novel weapons, and air defence. AJAX Turrets are a core part of enabling the British Army’s STRIKE concept, and enable cyber and electronic warfare at scale at the tactical and operational levels.  They form a digital backbone that can enable Multi-Domain integration and human-machine teaming


  1. LMUK’s turrets can be readily integrated into the British Army’s vehicle programmes, with proven reliability and safety from the successful WCSP trials.  They present a low risk route to establishing and maintaining the British Army’s Medium Weight vision.   Maintaining adequate vehicles programmes will be important to sustain the UK’s sovereign Turret Centre of Excellence at Ampthill, particularly following the cancellation of WCSP. It is estimated that loss of the AJAX Turret capability would impact more than 1,500 jobs in the UK supply chain, over and above the 2,000 jobs already impacted through the termination of the WCSP production contract.




14th July 2021