DPL is a joint venture that was established last year by Patria and the Latvian company Unitruck, which operates in the metals industry. DPL will be providing maintenance, repair, system integration and logistics services to the Latvian Defence Forces.
The joint venture was established as part of a joint R&D programme in which Patria and the States of Finland and Latvia are seeking to develop a new armoured vehicle system. This system will be based on the 6x6 vehicles manufactured by Patria, and will improve the mobility of armies.
DPL will be responsible for assembling the vehicles and, if Latvia decides to order vehicles from Patria after the R&D programme, also for lifecycle services in Latvia.
Seeking long-term partnership
Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria's Land Business Unit, says that the goal is to engage in close, long-term cooperation with Patria's Latvian partners. In preparation for this, five DPL employees will be visiting Patria's production facility in Hämeenlinna.
“During the visit, four DPL technicians and one maintenance manager will receive preliminary information about the structure and manufacture of the vehicles. They will take part in the production process by way of concrete tasks,” says Jussi Järvinen, President of Patria's Land Business Unit.
The employees will return to Latvia at the end of the autumn. They will continue to participate in the actual manufacturing process of the vehicles in the future.
“The employees’ visit to Finland is part of a technology transfer process. The goal is for them to acquire the necessary expertise to ensure that the assembly, maintenance and repair of 6x6 vehicles can be carried out in Latvia,” says DPL’s CEO, Uģis Romanovs.
Cooperation with local partners is important
Patria has also launched similar cooperation with its other Latvian partners. This summer, welders from the metal company SFM Latvia received training in Finland. When vehicle manufacture begins, this company will be manufacturing certain components in Latvia. The Latvian companies EMJ Metāls and Metāro will also be involved in manufacturing components for the vehicles.
The Latvian Ministry of Defence says that it is important for Latvian companies to participate in certain areas of production, as it will increase security of supply for defence materiel and create the conditions required for development in the Latvian defence industry.
Järvinen says that local vehicle manufacture is part of Patria's business model. The company has a great deal of knowledge and experience in the technology transfer required for manufacturing. The aim is to create a cost-effective supply chain, and this usually requires the use of local production and local supplier networks.
“Patria's operating model benefits both parties, and a joint supply chain will be created for the project. It will consist of both existing operators in Finland and new ones from Latvia, and will support operations in all of our projects,” says Järvinen.