Patria has delivered the first refurbished and upgraded XA-180 six-wheeled armoured personnel carrier to the Finnish Defence Forces.
A total of 70 vehicles are scheduled to be modernised between 2015 and 2017, based on the newly delivered pre-series vehicle. This will help extend their overall lifecycle well beyond 50 years and increase usability.
Awarded in December 2013, the contract also includes an option, which if implemented would extend the deal to 2021, for the refurbishment of 210 vehicles.
Patria Land Systems and Land Services president Mika Kari said: "This is an important domestic project for Patria and it also has [a] major impact on the employment at the Hämeenlinna plant.
"The project is proceeding as planned and the next step is the start of serial production.
"We also hope that the project will advance smoothly into the second phase of production after completion of the first one, without interruptions in production. This would enhance cost-efficiency as well.
"We hope that decisions on the second phase of the project, concerns financing and budgeting, will be made within the planned target schedule well before the first phase of production is completed."
The contract requires the company to modify the vehicles with additional seats for improved road safety, electric systems with instrumentation and new external surfacing.
In addition, the key components of every vehicle, including the engine, power transmission and axles, will be inspected and renovated or changed, if necessary, to help enhance performance.
The vehicles are scheduled to be used in the Finnish regional and operative forces.
Implemented in collaboration with Oricopa, the modernisation project, named XA MLU, is related to the Finnish Defence Forces' capability development programme, which seeks to improve the mobility of the soldiers.
Image: Finnish soldiers with a XA-180 armoured personnel carrier near the town of Doboj, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Photo: courtesy of PFC LUIS A. DEYA.