Strategic partnership ensures good performance and security of supply
Patria and the Finnish Defence Forces have been collaborating closely since the early days of Finnish independence. In the 2000s, strategic partnership has become the preferred term for a long-term collaborative relationship based on agreements. The services provided by its strategic partner enable the Finnish Defence Forces to focus on its core tasks. Jussi Järvinen, Executive Vice President of Patria’s Finland Division, says that the partnership revolves around lifecycle services for maintenance, repair andoverhauls.
– These services ensure that the Finnish Defence Forces’ equipment remains operational and up to date in terms of performance under all circumstances. Strategic partnership has been proven to work in Finland.
The strategic partnership is based on Patria’s profound technical expertise in the manufacture and maintenance of defence systems, as well as knowledge and experience of the Finnish Defence Forces’ needs gained through long-term cooperation. Järvinen says that key customer benefits include increased cost efficiency and shortened lead times for maintenance, repairs and upgrades. These services ensure that military equipment always remains operational and up to date in terms of performance.
– Efficiency also leads to cost savings.
Järvinen says that security of supply is another key benefit brought by the strategic partnership. The Finnish Defence Forces can rely on Patria’s support also in a crisis. For instance, the company always carries out its spare part deliveries and services to keep vehicles running.
Patria’s commitment holds true not only during potential military crises, but also in any other exceptional situations. The coronavirus pandemic posed its own challenges to Patria’s day-to-day operations, but the company was able to provide its customers with their deliverables both systematically and safely.
“The profound defence industry expertise found in Finland is an essential aspect of security of supply. It also creates jobs and generates tax revenue,” says Järvinen.
Patria employs more than 3,000 defence, security and aviation professionals. This figure includes Patria’s subsidiary, Millog, which is a strategic partner to the Finnish Defence Forces and primarily focuses on the maintenance of Army and Navy equipment.
Patria’s strategic partnership covers all three of the Finnish Defence Forces’ services.
Patria’s largest customer is the Finnish Air Force. This partnership covers the heavy maintenance of aircraft and their engines, along with repairs, upgrades, structural modifications and system development. Patria is also responsible for elementary and basic pilot training for the Air Force and Army. Järvinen says that the largest projects carried out with the Air Force have included a two-part lifecycle upgrade of Hornet fighters in 2006–2016.
“The Hornets’ performance has been systematically enhanced to meet the requirements of the security environment,” says Järvinen. Patria is also highly involved in another fighter project as an industrial partner. In this project, the Hornets will be replaced by F-35 fighters. Patria will, among other things, be responsible for the manufacture of certain structural components in the years ahead.
Patria’s partnership with the Finnish Army is primarily based on the company’s own product and service offering, as well as robust expertise in integration projects involving the installation of systems made by different manufacturers, such as in vehicles.
For instance, Patria was responsible for a project that supplied the Finnish Army with armoured bridge layers built on Leopard 2A4 tank platforms and also upgraded existing equipment.
Patria has also made lifecycle upgrades to the Finnish Army’s XA-180 personnel carriers in order to guarantee the performance, condition and technical lifecycles of these vehicles into the 2040s. Last June, Patria supplied the Army with a prototype series of 6x6 armoured vehicles under the letter of intent for the delivery of a total of 160 vehicles in the years ahead that Patria had signed with the Finnish Ministry of Defence.
This vehicle order is part of the CAVS R&D programme, which involves Finland, Germany, Latvia and Sweden in addition to Patria.
FAMOUS is an EU-funded programme that is developing technologies and performance for future mobile armoured systems. The programme includes nine EU countries, with Patria leading the industrial consortium. In Finland, the programme is focusing on developing the Arctic mobility of the Finnish Army.
Patria’s cooperation with the Finnish Navy encompasses, for instance, demanding vessel integration projects, deliveries of underwater systems and diesel engine maintenance.
“Patria’s profound expertise in system integration is also demonstrated by the overhaul and lifecycle upgrade of four Hamina-class missile boats for the Navy,” says Järvinen.
Patria held overall responsibility for the project, and was the main integrator, supplier and designer.
The Finland Division led by Jussi Järvinen is responsible for the sale, marketing and customer accounts of Patria products and services in Finland. It also serves other security-critical authorities in addition to the Finnish Defence Forces.
In recent years, cooperation between Patria and security authorities has focused on a variety of digital solutions. Patria’s areas of special expertise are reconnaissance, surveillance and command systems, as well as their integration and lifecycle support.
“Security-critical systems are now more dependent on software and other digital solutions. Patria has been systematically increasing its own cyber expertise. For instance, the company now employs about 300 software professionals,” says Järvinen.
The increased number of cyber threats is an example of the challenges Finland must respond to in its constantly changing security environment. Järvinen says that the strategic partnership provides a good foundation for discussing the Finnish Defence Forces’ future needs and developing its capabilities over the longer term.
– Open discussion and common long-term development goals are essential aspects of this collaboration.
Järvinen says Finland’s NATO membership will make them even more important.
– Membership in this defence alliance will offer new channels for both product and operational development. This will require close cooperation between the government and both the Defence Forces and the defence industry.