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Joint European projects enhance European equipment acquisitions. Long-term plans and commitment together with continuous collaboration are needed in order to improve overall preparedness and to give the industry a much-needed security for investments, writes Esa Rautalinko, President and CEO of Patria.

Europe remains a continent at war as Russia has continued its aggressive invasion of Ukraine now already for over 2 years. Unfortunately, it has become clear that any quick resolutions are not in sight. Due to the drastically changed security environment, Finland joined NATO in April 2023.

Finland’s NATO membership facilitates industrial cooperation in the ecosystem of NATO countries. Patria has a long experience in operating in several NATO countries, both with export customers and through its own local Group companies. Ever closer cooperation, especially with Sweden and more broadly in the Nordics, will continue after Sweden’s NATO accession. For these reasons alone, defence industry issues are currently very topical in NATO. Patria’s and Finland’s strengths complement NATO, especially when it comes to products and services designed for Arctic conditions, lifecycle expertise and state-of-the-art technology solutions. 

For a long time before the invasion of Ukraine, the focus of European security policy was based on preparedness against information warfare and cyber threats. These threats and tackling them continue to be important, but the focus needs to be on more traditional preparedness as frontline war is now on European soil.

"Patria has a long experience in operating in several NATO countries", states Esa Rautalinko, President and CEO of Patria.

European Commission unveiled EU’s first-ever defence industrial strategy in March 2024 which is the EU’s attempt to move on from its initial emergency responses to Russia’s invasion and to improve European long-term defence industrial readiness. This shows the importance of European decisionmakers looking at the security situation from a shared point of view. European defence collaboration is the key to keep peace in Europe. 

Joint European projects enhancing European equipment acquisitions, such as the CAVS (Common Armoured Vehicle System) programme based on Patria 6x6 vehicle, or the European Defence Fund’s R&D projects, such as FAMOUS (European Future Highly Mobile Augmented Armoured Systems), are great and tangible examples and success stories combining European collaboration and development of interchangeable equipment and performance.

The CAVS programme is already today participated by Finland, Latvia, Sweden and Germany, and Patria 6x6 vehicles are already in operational use in Finland, Latvia and Sweden. The FAMOUS consortium, participated by 9 countries and 18 leading European defence companies, develops technologies and performance of future armoured vehicles to meet customer needs in the EU by improving ground combat capabilities.

We are facing decades of growing demand in defence materiel. Instead of disputing over the defence industry’s production capacity, the more relevant question is what are the long-term needs of sovereign European nations in order to ramp up their preparedness. Long-term plans and commitment together with continuous collaboration are needed in order to improve overall preparedness and to give the industry a much-needed security for investments. This way of thinking also ensures the needed flow of defence materiel to Ukraine.

Esa Rautalinko
President and CEO of Patria