British Army Military Tank

Claim Compensation for Hearing Loss Caused by Ajax Tanks

Posted on: 7 mins read
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Jonathan Cloudsdale

Senior Associate Solicitor, Military Claims

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What Are Ajax Tanks?

Ajax is the name given to the Army’s armoured cavalry programme. This is for a family of six variants of tracked vehicles based on one common platform. Ajax tanks are advanced, fully digitised, land vehicle systems which are said to be capable of delivering transformational change in capability to the British Army with advanced sensors and communications systems to gather and share information in real time with other units. 

These tanks were meant to replace the existing fleet of armoured vehicles that had been developed back in the 1960s. They were expected to revolutionise the British Army, increasing agility, flexibility and resilience.

However, originally intended to enter service in 2017 the programme has been repeatedly delayed and has been estimated to cost £5.5 billion so far despite being at least 6 years late. After halting payments to arms company, General Dynamics Land Systems UK (GDLS-UK) more than 2 years ago, the Ministry of Defence said in March 2023 that it would hand over £480m to the arms company. It said that full operating capability was expected between October 2028 and September 2029 when the army has both trained and converted forces to the vehicle.

A total of 589 Ajax vehicles are due to be delivered to the British army. The whole programme remains within its originally approved budget level, according to the Ministry of Defence, despite the numerous delays.

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Why Were the Ajax Tank Trials Stopped?

Initial trials of the Ajax tanks took place at the Armoured Trials and Development Unit in 2019. Following these trials, it was reported that the Ajax tanks were incredibly loud and vibrated excessively.

However, when these issues were reported to the Ministry of Defence, they failed to act upon them and the trials continued. It was only when some of the soldiers involved in the testing of these vehicles started to experience vibration injuries and problems with their hearing that the Ministry of Defence  finally stepped in and stopped the trials. Trials eventually stopped in June 2021, approximately 2  years after the initial issues were raised with the Ministry of Defence.

Although the trials have now stopped, many soldiers may have been affected by the impact of the Ajax tanks during the 2 year period that the trials of these vehicles took place. If you were part of these Ajax trials, our expert team of Military Claims Solicitors might be able to get you compensation if your hearing was affected or if you’ve suffered from debilitating vibration injuries.


Who Has Been Affected by the Ajax Trials and How Has it Impacted Their Lives? 

Around 17 soldiers are currently receiving specialist care for hearing loss as a direct result of trialling these Ajax tanks. Some are likely to be able to return to duty, but for 11 of them, their hearing has been damaged so badly it’s limited their ability to perform their basic military duties.

The army has also identified a further 310 army personnel that might have been affected by these noise and vibration issues. There are serious concerns that these soldiers may have developed conditions such as Noise Induced Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Vibration White Finger Syndrome.

What is Noise Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is more commonly referred to as NIHL. It happens when the inner ear structure is damaged by excessive noise and can lead to significant hearing loss which makes it difficult to hear people talking in loud environments.

It is one of the most common health problems and can be difficult to detect as the effects build up gradually over time. Exposure to high noise levels can cause permanent hearing damage, often without the sufferer being aware of it until it is too late. It may lead to tinnitus or deafness.

Throughout all industry, industrial hearing loss remains the occupational disease with the highest number of civil claims accounting for about 75% of all occupational disease claims. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK estimates that more than 2 million people in Great Britain are exposed to unacceptable levels of noise at work.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that do not come from an outside source. It's not usually a sign of anything serious and may get better by itself however when caused by excessive noise at work, may lead to further health issues. 

People with tinnitus tend to experience a buzzing or ringing in their ears which is distracting, causes sleep problems and can lead to mental health issues. Tinnitus can sound like ringing, buzzing, whooshing, humming, hissing, throbbing, music or singing. You may hear these sounds in 1 or both ears. You may also or alternatively hear the noise in your head instead. The noises may come and go, or you might hear them all the time.

There are only a few treatments for tinnitus which are recommended by the NHS. These include:

  • tinnitus counselling to help you learn about tinnitus and to help you to find ways of coping with it that work for you
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – to change the way you think about your tinnitus and reduce anxiety caused by the tinnitus
  • tinnitus retraining therapy – this works by using sound therapy to retrain your brain to tune out and be less aware of the tinnitus

Tinnitus retraining therapy may be available on the NHS for people with severe or persistent tinnitus. It's unclear if tinnitus retraining therapy works for everyone. It's widely available privately. Specialist hearing aids may also be recommended, along side other equipment to mask symptoms. Unfortunately there are no current cures for tinnitus but research is ongoing.

What Is Vibration White Finger and How Is It Related To Ajax Tanks

Vibration White Finger Syndrome is a term used when secondary Raynaud’s has been caused by vibration. This typically happens to people who regularly use certain types of vibrating tools, such as:

  • sanders, grinders and disc cutters
  • hammer drills
  • chainsaws, hedge trimmers and power mowers

Any vibrating tool that causes tingling or numbness in your fingers could lead to vibration white finger. Secondary Raynaud’s can severely restrict the blood supply, so it carries a higher risk of complications, such as ulcers, scarring and even tissue death (also known as gangrene) in the most serious cases.

Sufferers of Vibration White Finger Syndrome usually get numbness or tingling in their hands and arms, painful joints and muscle weakness. It can impact their ability to perform manual tasks and can often mean they’re unable to handle small, fiddly things like buttons or cutlery. The severity of symptoms depends upon the level and duration of vibration exposure. Treatment includes avoidance of further vibration and may require a change of occupation.

What Can Army Personnel Do If They’re Suffering From Vibration Injuries or Hearing Loss as a Result of the Ajax Trials?

If you were involved in the Ajax vehicle trials and are concerned about potential hearing loss or issues caused by your exposure to the excessive noise and vibration during the trials, you might be able to proceed with a compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence for failing to provide a basic duty of care.

Here at Simpson Millar, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of claims brought by service personnel because their health and safety has been compromised due to breaches of duty of care by the British Army.

If you’re still serving in the Armed Forces, your first step is to discuss any symptoms you are experiencing with your Medical Officer. You can then seek legal advice on your options afterwards. 

Ultimately, the Ministry of Defence are responsible for keeping you safe and helping you if you have unfortunately sustained an injury whilst serving your country. If you have suffered from a hearing loss of vibration injury, there may be a claim for damages that you can proceed with for personal injury should you wish to do so. Our Military Claims Lawyers will assist you in getting the compensation you deserve, and we'll handle your case without charging you if we don't win – just inquire for more information.

Our expert team can help you by assessing your case, determining your prospects of success and, if applicable, helping you to make a personal injury claim. We can also help you to identify and receive any treatment that may help your symptoms. Any compensation you receive will not only compensate you for your pain and suffering but can also, where relevant, help to fund any private treatment you may need in the future. 

We understand that making a claim against the Ministry of Defence can sometimes feel a bit daunting or uncomfortable, so please be rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost care and sensitivity. We strongly believe that you’re entitled to receive compensation if the Ministry of Defence haven’t put your health and safety first, if they’ve failed to fulfil their duty of care and if you’ve suffered as a result of this.

Our expert team of Military Claims Solicitors are able to offer many years of expertise in this area. We can offer a no cost and no obligation initial consultation completely free of charge, so talk to one of our experienced Military Claims Solicitors. We can assess the prospects of success in your case and we may be able to proceed with this on a No Win No Fee basis – just ask us about it today. Alternatively, you can request a call back here.


The Guardian. (2023, March 20). British Army's new Ajax fighting vehicle will not be ready until end of decade. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

British Army. (n.d.). Ajax. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

House of Commons Library. (31/03/2023). Ajax: A British Army Armoured Vehicle. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Health and Safety Executive. (n.d.). Noise at work: A brief guide. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

NHS. (n.d.). Tinnitus. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

NHS. (2023). Raynaud's. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. (2011). Raynaud's Phenomenon. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Health and Safety Executive. (n.d.). Noise at work: A brief guide. Retrieved from (Accessed: December 30, 2023).

Jonathan Cloudsdale

Senior Associate Solicitor, Military Claims

Jonathan is a Senior Associate Solicitor specialising in Military accident and injury claims. He runs his own caseload of military personal injury cases helping clients with a variety of case types.

Jonathan also has a background in Industrial Disease Claims helping clients who had experienced illness and diseases as a result of their work.

He has secured 6 figure settlements for clients whilst guiding, advising and keeping them informed throughout the process.

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