Latvia Presents its First Patria 6×6 APCs

On the 3rd of November, Latvia showed off its first four new Patria armoured vehicles at Ādaži base. These vehicles present the first of over 200 that Latvia has ordered from the Finnish manufacturer at a cost of 200 million Euros.

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According to a statement by the Latvian ministry of defence, the first four of over 200 ordered Patria 6x6 armoured personnel carrier (APC) were delivered on the 29th of October. In a statement by Patria on the same day, the company called the vehicle handover “a remarkable milestone for all participants.”

“With high-quality cooperation between Latvian companies, our own professionals, and the future users of the vehicles, we have achieved this important milestone together. Staying on schedule and taking a project this size forward so effectively is not always a matter of course, and we do not take this milestone for granted. Hard work has been done on this and will continue to be done. We all get to be proud of ourselves and continue this exceptional joint programme going forward. In addition, I believe that such concrete progress will build even more confidence towards this joint programme particularly outside the programme and hence increase interest in other countries as well.”, says Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria’s Land business unit.

This comes after user training of the Patria 6x6 was completed by Latvian Soldiers in Patria’s facilities in Hämeenlinna, Finland. The soldiers of the Latvian National Armed Forces participated in a two-week user, instructor, and maintenance training course.

The program began in early 2020, when Finland and Latvia agreed one joint development programme to improve the mobility of the ground forces. The project aimed to develop a new armoured vehicle system based on the 6x6 armoured vehicles manufactured by Patria. In late August 2021, Finland, Latvia, and Patria signed a Frame Agreement for production phase management.

Esa Rautalinko, President and CEO of Patria stated on the occasion: “The serial production start of 6x6 vehicles is a significant milestone for us, and we at Patria are proud of providing our expertise in the joint programme, which offers a very cost-effective solution for the participating countries. We believe that this will certainly be of interest also to other countries which are keen on enhancing their army mobility.”

The Patria 6x6 is the successor to Patria’s XA series (also known as Pasi), which had been in service with the Finnish Defence Forces since the 80’s. It also incorporates the experience Patria had with the heavier 8x8 which had entered service in 2004 and is in service Finland, Poland and Sweden, among others. The 6x6 had been introduced in 2018, as a low-cost alternative for needs where heavy protection is not required. With low through-life costs and easy maintenance, it’s standard version only features STANAG level 2 protection (battle rifles).

The Patria 6x6 carries up to 10 dismounts plus a crew of two in the front cabin, or 8-9 dismounts and a crew of three. The vehicle is optimised for mobility with continuous all-wheel drive and steering by front two axles. Amphibious capability for water crossing and amphibious landing operations is available as an option. It has a maximum speed of more than 100km/h and an operating distance of 700km.

The presented Patria 6x6 seemed to be fitted with shielded M2 heavy machine guns, but Patria’s own NEMO 120mm turreted mortar platform can potentially be fitted onto the vehicle.

The Patria 6X6 is targeted at new markets, as a successor to the XA series APCs and to complement customers’ AMV 8X8 vehicle base. The 6X6 complies with NATO requirements and is suitable for peacekeeping missions around the world.

Currently, Latvia and Finland are participating jointly in the new 6x6 armoured vehicle project, with Sweden having shown interest in getting involved. Despite this, Patria has merely signed a letter of intent with Finland for a potential serial order of 6×6 vehicles. Although Estonia later suspended its participation in the project after signing a letter of intent with Latvia and Finland, it and any other allied country will have the opportunity to get involved again in future.

It is planned that the maintenance, repair and possible modernization of the vehicles will be performed in Latvia. The vehicle deliveries will take place between 2021 and 2029.

By Kevin Klemann 

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