Teemu Raitis, 41, who has master’s degrees in electrical engineering, economics and business administration, took over as the President of Patria Land in January of 2019. His background is in heavy-duty mining and forest machinery exports, and he has served most recently as the Managing Director of Ponsse’s subsidiary Epec Oy and previously as the Managing Director of Ponsse Latin America in Brazil.
“My family and I lived in Brazil for around six years. We also got a chance to live in Australia and Chile when I worked for Sandvik, and we spent a lot of time in major mining countries, such as Canada and South Africa.”
Epec, which is a designer and manufacturer of control system solutions, is based in Seinäjoki, Finland, and Raitis commuted there from his current home town of Turku. Patria Land is based in Hämeenlinna, giving him a considerably shorter commute. “I pass the time on the train between Turku and Hämeenlinna listening to audio books”, Raitis says.
More competence in exports
Patria Land’s business is heavily export-orientated, and Raitis is an expert in export sales.
“This is a great time to come on board. We have an extremely competent and experienced team, excellent relationships with our customers, and an exciting range of new products.”
Raitis sees Patria as one of the world’s four most notable suppliers of military vehicles.
“We wanted to give Patria an even stronger presence on the international market, the ability to take advantage of new export opportunities, and more capacity to meet the needs of defence forces around the world even better than we have in the past.”
Teemu Raitis believes that Patria Land’s relationship with the Finnish Defence Forces is extremely healthy.
“The current trend in the global security market calls for better defence and security of supply as well as stronger competence in these fields. What we do is of vital importance to national security. Exporting mining and forest machinery was great, but this is even more meaningful.”
Three products at different stages of their respective life cycles
At the core of Patria Land’s competence lie armoured wheeled vehicles and mortar systems, as well as life-cycle support services for these products. Its best-known products are the Patria AMV and the Patria Nemo and AMOS mortar systems, which are market leaders in their respective product segments.
“We are in a relatively good position, as we currently have three products that are at different stages of their respective life cycles: mortar systems, the Patria AMV and 6X6 vehicles. Our cash cows enable us to invest in product development.”
Over the coming years, Patria Land will invest heavily in the Patria 6X6 vehicle, which was launched in 2018.
“The XA series of vehicles, which is also known as the Patria Pasi, is excellent, but it desperately needs updating. There is a lot of hype around army mobility systems at the moment, and we need to be able to respond to the performance demands of the near future.”
Systemic performance depends not only on the vehicles themselves but also their ability to work together and share information as well as to satisfy requirements relating to automation. The Finnish Army’s vehicle fleet will also need modernisation soon: the Patria XA-180 is getting a mid-life upgrade at the moment, but we feel that a next-generation system is needed after that.
“Perhaps we really do know the Finnish Defence Forces’ needs extremely well, as we happen to be developing the 6X6 at exactly the right time”, Raitis says.
“The Patria Pasi has been a huge success, and we believe that the 6X6 has at least as much potential. The Patria AMV also still has many new markets to conquer.”
“At an AMV demonstration event in Poland, we were able to offer a completely revolutionary system, and our AMV came first in the customer’s tests. We believe that we will see the same with the 6X6.”
Patria Land’s other important product segment alongside vehicles is mortar systems. Raitis sees Finland as the world leader in indirect fire. “We need to make more noise about our excellent solutions. It would be in our interests to engage different countries in a dialogue about their military performance to give ourselves a chance to influence the future of combat techniques.”
Patria Land is pursuing a number of contracts at the moment. The furthest advanced are negotiations relating to an AMV contract with Slovakia, in addition to which Patria Land has also submitted bids in countries such as Bulgaria and Japan.
“Japan usually either makes its own vehicles or buys them from the US. This time, bids are welcome from others as well.”
"The order book for AMVs is at the moment much thinner than what we have used to have in recent years. Winning new customer orders from existing sales programs is essential for financial sustainability of the Land Business unit."
Interest in unmanned solutions is set to increase in the near future.
“The US has already decreed that new vehicles need to be operable manually, remotely and fully autonomously. Patria is keeping abreast of development, as we need to be able to offer all three options to buyers who want a system that will work for several decades.”
Fondness for endurance sports
Teemu Raitis loves endurance sports, especially running, skiing and cycling. He has run a marathon, taken part in long bicycle races and dreams about one day competing in a triathlon.
“My challenge is finding the time, as my now 10-year-old son plays football and floorball, and my eight-year-old daughter does figure skating and gymnastics. My family is at the point of its life cycle in which the parents’ activities are dictated by the children, although their activities are extremely fun. The children are thrilled, and their clubs run so well that they have won both of us parents over as well: my wife is on the board of our daughter’s figure skating club, and I have just become the assistant manager of my son’s football team.”