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The British Army’s New Armored Vehicle Is So Bad, It’s Making Soldiers Sick

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A new armored reconnaissance vehicle that’s key to the British Army’s modernization efforts suffers from significant design flaws that allegedly cause troops riding in them to become ill, according to a new report.

The Ajax armored vehicle is prone to “excessive vibration and noise,” which caused the Army to suspend testing for several months, says the BBC. The Ajax is the first major armored vehicle that the British Army has acquired in more than 20 years.

The 38-ton, three-crew vehicle is armed with a 40-millimeter ԍuɴ ғɪʀɪɴɢ new space-saving, cased-telescoping ᴀммuɴιтιoɴ. The Ajax is designed to roll out, gather information about ᴇɴᴇᴍʏ forces, and sʟᴜɢ it out with adversaries if necessary. It’s also the first of many vehicles that will be based on the Ajax chassis, including the Ares (armored personnel carrier), Argus (engineer), Athena (command and control), and others.

Overall, the British Army plans to buy 589 vehicles based on the Ajax platform, spread out over at least seven variants. Unfortunately, the design flaws found in the early production Ajax vehicles are reportedly so bad that the British Army suspended trials last fall out of concerns for the health of soldiers interacting with the vehicles.

The excessive noise and vibration that the Ajax generates when moving has caused some of the troops riding inside to experience tinnitus, swollen joints, and nausea, according to a Sun report. And no, noise-canceling headphones don’t work. In fact, any soldier who has traveled inside one of the vehicles (the Ares variant) must take a hearing test, the Sun says.

The Ajax also can’t back up over obstacles that are 20 centimeters (7.87 inches) high, and the vehicle has suspension problems that prevent the new 40-millimeter ԍuɴ from ғɪʀɪɴɢ on the move. Because of these problems and more, the British Army has limited soldiers to spending just 105 minutes inside the vehicle at a time and restricted the vehicle to driving at just 20 miles per hour.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense and defense contractor General Dʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄs are jointly looking into the issues. According to the U.K. Defence Journal, the British Army still plans for the Ajax to reach initial operating capability this summer.