AUCKLAND: A new agreement signed between Finland, Latvia and Finnish armored vehicle manufacturer Patria represents the official start of a joint-procurement effort by those two countries, known as the Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) program.
The CAVS 6×6 is based on Patria’s earlier 8×8 AMV and 6×6 XA-series vehicles with a similar chassis and power train. However, there are differences based on 6×6 requirements for both Finland and Latvia.
The project began in 2019 as a multinational cooperation effort that also included Estonia, which has since dropped out. The research and development phase has resulted in a common armored vehicle platform and armored personnel carrier (APC) variant.
Signed Aug. 30, the agreement includes an order from Latvia for the delivery of 200 APC variant vehicles and another 160 for Finland. Latvia’s are expected to cost around €1 million each, with Finland’s likely higher, as they are requesting a more advanced version of the vehicles.
A spokesperson from the Latvian MoD told Breaking Defense that the deliveries would begin this year and go through 2029. “This year’s delivery volume will be 10 vehicles,” the spokesperson said adding, “The total value of the contract is around €200 million; that includes the vehicles’ delivery, initial maintenance and training.”
Finland will order some vehicles this year, but a Letter of Intent from Helsinki states that serial procurement will not begin until 2023. Patria stated that an initial order of 160 is expected.
Meanwhile, further vehicles are under development to meet Finnish Army requirements. Col. Rainer Peltoneimi, inspector of infantry with Army Command Finland, told Breaking Defense that “Product development will continue with the development of a command post vehicle, a lifecycle package and an increasingly protected APC version.”
He added: “In conjunction, it is possible that also other vehicle variants get to be designed and developed depending on the needs of the participating countries.” It is expected that Estonia will re-join CAVS along with new entrant Sweden; the latter is expected to begin talks on joining the program sometime this year.
For Latvia, the new APC will provide a vehicle with additional mobility and ease of use for operators compared to existing assets. Currently, Latvia only fields an inventory of lightly armored 4×4 vehicles.
“Long life cycle and easy maintenance makes [CAVS] very cost-efficient. It adapts into several missions,” the Latvian MoD spokesperson said. A joint venture between Patria and Latvian company Unitruck, called Defence Partnership Latvia (DPL) that was created in 2020, will provide the maintenance and repair of the 6x6s for the Latvian Army in-country.
For Finland, CAVS is part of the Army’s wider effort to upgrade its wheeled mobility capability through to the 2060s. With the introduction of the new 6x6s it will mean that the Finnish Army can reallocated its existing older 1980s-vintage Sisu Pasi XA-180M 6x6s to local forces.
Meanwhile, Finland is modernizing its entire XA-180 armored vehicle fleet. Work started in 2015 and is due to be completed in 2022. The total value of the modernization is approximately €65 million.
“Modernization ensures that the capability, condition and technical life cycle of the XA-180 APC will extend into the 2040s,” Peltoneimi explained. “Electric systems will be upgraded, power transmission components will be improved and suspension and external coating will be renewed. Seats with security belts will also be installed in the vehicles.”
Finland, Latvia To Jointly Procure 360 Land Vehicles; Estonia, Sweden Could Join – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense is written by Aaron Mehta for breakingdefense.com