In response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent request, Finland is considering the possibility of manufacturing Finnish armoured vehicles in Ukraine. This proposal, if realized, could involve the licensed production of armoured vehicles from the Finnish defense company Patria, akin to a previous arrangement between Patria and Poland. Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen (NCP) expressed Finland’s commitment to exploring ways to support Ukraine, emphasizing the significance of fostering defense industrial cooperation in Europe. She pointed out that boosting the defense industry in Europe aligns with the long-term interests of the continent. With Finland possessing considerable expertise in this domain, the potential collaboration holds promise for enhancing European defense capabilities.
Sweden’s recent agreement to begin manufacturing Swedish-developed armoured personnel carriers (APC) in Ukraine has set a precedent for such collaboration. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv has sought assistance from various nations to bolster its defense capabilities. Defence Minister Antti Häkkänen (NCP) acknowledged Ukraine’s interest in Finnish arms companies and highlighted the potential for cooperation. However, he also underscored the challenges associated with altering production systems, especially in conflict zones. For Patria, engaging in licensed manufacturing with Ukraine presents formidable challenges, considering the ongoing conflict in the region. An alternative route for Ukraine to acquire Patria’s armoured vehicles expeditiously would be through donations from nations that use these vehicles, coupled with direct orders from Patria.
The Patria 6×6 (Patria XA-300) is a six-wheeled armoured personnel carrier produced by the Finnish defence industry company Patria. Patria 6×6 chassis is based on Patria AMVXP structures and components. The expected service life of the vehicle is more than 30 years. Patria 6×6 is primarily designed for troop transport but can be configured for other roles as well. The basic platform can be tailored to meet varying user requirements by many optional features e.g. swimming system, winch, upgraded armour protection and diverse weapon systems. Available weapons range from machine gun up to 25/30 mm medium calibre direct fire weapon systems and Patria Nemo 120 mm turreted mortar system. The layout has driver and commander in front, engine compartment behind the driver and rear compartment for troop and role specific equipment.
In early 2020 Finland and Latvia agreed a joint development programme for Common Armoured Vehicle Systems (CAVS) based on Patria 6×6. It is planned that from 2023 Patria 6×6 for needs of Latvian army will be fully produced in C?sis, Latvia with partial production starting in 2022. Additionally, Patria is seeking to reinstate an arms export license to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was suspended five years ago. This potential renewal would primarily cover spare parts and maintenance for previously supplied vehicles. Notably, the UAE’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen has raised concerns within the international community due to the humanitarian crisis. While arms exports to the UAE were suspended under previous Finnish governments, there has been a shift in policy. The government is actively aiming to elevate Finland’s defense sector and its ambitions.