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Sweden to Bolster Interoperability with Neighbours with the Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) Programme

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Written by Xavier Bento

Six weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and as talks are getting louder about a possible integration of Sweden into NATO, the Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) announced on 4 April 2022 that it had signed a technical agreement with Finland, Estonia, and Latvia to cooperate in a joint-procurement effort. These countries will thus jointly develop a new 6×6 armoured personnel carrier (APC) under the Finnish-led Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) programme, in cooperation with the Finnish armoured vehicle manufacturer Patria.

The project began in December 2019 as multinational cooperation between Latvia and Finland, joined in April 2020 by Estonia, which has since dropped out and maintained an ambiguous position regarding its intentions (however, with Sweden now entering the programme, it is expected that Estonia will re-join the CAVS). Since the steering committee of the CAVS programme approved Sweden’s accession to the project on 10 December 2021, Patria reiterated that the programme is open to other nations on the mutual consent of participating countries.

Regarding procurements, after the project progressed to the research and product development phase in autumn 2020, Latvia was the first to order more than 200 APCs on 30 August 2021 (Patria delivered the first at the end of October, and deliveries are expected to go through 2029). Meanwhile, the Finnish Ministry of Defence and Patria have signed a letter of intent on ordering 160 new such vehicles for Finland in 2023. As for prices, Latvia’s APCs are expected to cost around €1 million each, with Finland’s likely higher as they are requesting a more advanced version of the vehicles. Sweden’s contractual arrangements and the specific timeframe remain to be discussed, but the first vehicles are expected to be delivered in 2025 at the earliest. Finally, if Estonian plans are still somewhat unclear, the fact that the Finnish schedule places the main order only in 2023 gives the Estonians plenty of time to get aboard.

As for its characteristics, the Patria 6×6 APC is a multipurpose transport vehicle with a maximum load-bearing capacity of 8.5 tonnes, offering numerous options depending on the needs. Optional equipment can be added to bring the 6×6 closer to the AMV, with various ballistic and mine protection levels, weapon systems, self-protection systems and other interior equipment. In addition to the crew of 2-3 persons, the vehicle has seats for ten combat troops, depending on its purpose and layout. In short, the APC is intended to be easy to operate and train, reliable and designed to meet the highest requirements of customers, suited for off-road mobility and adapted to a broad range of operations.

Of great interest, CAVS countries will use common components for the vehicles, increasing interoperability and reducing life cycle costs. Still, the countries can specify to Patria what versions they want to procure in terms of troop transport, command, ambulance, and mortar carriers. The 6×6 also meets NATO standards and is a clearly unified concept in terms of its manufacturing technology. If necessary, a partner in the destination country can efficiently complete the final assembly and equipment.

From the military standpoint, the new APC will provide CAVS countries with a vehicle with additional mobility and ease of use for operators compared to existing assets (this is especially true for Latvia, which for now only fields an inventory of lightly armoured 4×4 vehicles). For Finland, CAVS is part of the Army’s broader effort to upgrade its wheeled mobility capability through to the 2060s. With the introduction of the new 6×6s, the Finnish Army will now be able to reallocate its older 1980s-vintage Sisu Pasi XA-180M 6×6s to local forces, providing a serious boost to the tactical and operational mobility of these units. As for Sweden, while the technical, tactical and strategic benefits of future vehicles remain difficult to estimate given that they are yet to be designed, this move sends a strong signal that Sweden is determined to engage in defence materiel collaboration and develop inter-nation interoperability and connectivity, and Army combined operating capability.


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