Finnish Ministry of Defense said that it concluded a contract to purchase Patria 6×6 armoured personnel carriers from Patria Land Systems, a Finnish company with majority ownership by the government (50.1%) and Norwegian Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (49.9%).
These will be pre-production vehicles for operation and testing for a possible serial purchase. The agreement on acquiring a trial batch of Patria 6×6 armoured personnel carriers was concluded with the manufacturing company by the Department of Logistics of the Finnish Defense Forces. The purchase package includes three armoured personnel carriers and additional training for military personnel in the operation and maintenance of vehicles.
The total value of the contract is about four million euros. The APC’s will be delivered to the Finnish armed forces in June. The acquired armoured personnel carriers will be tested in the army during 2022. If they are successful, serial deliveries can begin in 2023.
Notably, the company delivered the first Patria 6×6 armoured personnel carriers to the Latvian army in October 2021.
360 Patria 6×6 APC’s to be ordered
On August 30, 2021, the Finnish company Patria announced a framework agreement with the Ministries of Defense of Finland and Latvia to manage the production phase of 6×6 armoured vehicles.
Under the agreement, the participating parties will jointly manage procurement, receiving technical and economic benefits from increased production under the program.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense of Latvia and Patria signed a contract to supply more than 200 6×6 armoured personnel carriers developed under the joint program, including support and training systems. The delivery of equipment is scheduled for the period from 2021 to 2029.
According to the information from the Ministry of Defense of Latvia, the cost of the contract is about 200 million euros (236 million dollars). The agreement includes the supply of equipment, initial maintenance, and personnel training. As a result of the purchase, by 2029, the Latvian Armed Forces will receive armoured vehicles that meet their needs. Participation in the project of Latvian companies is expected, which will carry out maintenance, repair and possible subsequent modernization of the armoured fighting vehicle in Latvia.
With the Ministry of Defense of Finland, Patria signed a letter of intent (LOI), providing for the placement of an order for the mass production of 160 new armoured vehicles in the future.
The APC project began in 2019 as a multinational collaboration between Finland and Latvia.
Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said in 2020, “The needs of our (Latvia and Finland) armed forces are similar, but not identical. Our joint discussion concluded that the market does not offer a vehicle platform that directly meets all the requirements. Therefore, we decided to launch a research and development program on the Patria 6×6 platform, which offers maximum practicality, possibilities and best meets the requirements of Latvia and Finland.”
The minister did not specify the specific requirements of the vehicles.
One of the preconditions for Latvia’s participation is the participation of the Latvian industry.
In January 2019, the Procurement Supervision Bureau did not allow the Latvian Ministry of Defense to conclude a 200 million contract to purchase 4×4 armoured vehicles from the winning Finnish company Oy Sisu Auto Ab.
Latvia is a NATO partner, and Finland is a neutral country.
More partners invited
The joint program is open to the participation of other states with the mutual consent of the participating countries. In general, the joint purchase of AFVs should improve mobility, profitability, interoperability, and security of equipment supplies to the Armed Forces of the participating countries.
Estonia had shown interest in the project but did not join the program.
Patria 6×6 APC
The Finnish company Patria produces two armoured vehicles: Patria AMV XP and Patria 6×6.
The new 6×6 armoured platform, according to the Finnish manufacturer, “combines all the best features” of its main product, the Patria AMV armoured personnel carrier with an 8×8 wheel arrangement and the old Finnish armoured personnel carriers of the Sisu\Patria XA family with a 6×6 wheel arrangement. It is “simplified and cheaper” compared to Patria AMV. This platform should not be confused with the three-axle variants of the AMV armoured personnel carrier previously offered by Patria, which did not find customers.
Armoured personnel carriers of the XA-180 (Pasi) series with a 6×6 wheel arrangement were initially developed for the Finnish army by the Finnish company Sisu Auto and have been mass-produced at its plant in Hämenlinna since 1984. Since 1999, heavier modified armoured personnel carriers of the XA-200 series have been produced. In total, up to 2004, up to 1200 XA series machines were manufactured, which were also exported to Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland. In 1997, when the Patria state group was formed, the BTR plant in Hämenlinna was transferred from Sisu Auto, along with all rights to XA series vehicles.
Patria 6×6 APC is primarily a personnel carrier. Since it is modular, it can be converted to suit customer requirements. Patria 6×6 APC can carry ten personnel, and the crew, including driver and commander, are seated in the driver’s cabin. It can also carry 8 to 9 personnel with the crew of driver, commander and a gunner seated in the driver’s cabin. All equipment is hosted within the protected hull and can manage a mission of 72 hours requirement. The vehicle is amphibious and can protect the occupants with STANAG Level 4.