WASHINGTON — Slovakia and Finland have signed a deal that would see the former’s industry participate in the production of 76 armored combat vehicles already on order from Patria, the Finnish defense company announced Tuesday.
The Slovak government in March chose Patria to supply the eight-wheel drive AMV XP platform. The vehicles will feature the remote-controlled Slovak Turra 30 turret and the 30mm GTS-30/A cannon, according to a news release by the Slovak Defence Ministry.
The company release did not provide a contract value. But Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad on Tuesday said Patria would sell each vehicle for €4.675 million (U.S. $4.682 million), which means the total value of the vehicle sale could be worth about €355.3 million.
The latest government-to-government deal will see Slovak companies help manufacture the vehicles, according to the Patria release. Manufacturing of the first eight vehicles will take place in Finland, and Slovak workers will travel there to learn about the process, the Slovak ministry said. Production for the remaining vehicles will occur in Slovakia in partnership with contractor Konštrukta Defence and six main Slovak subcontractors, the ministerial release added.
The first AMV XP vehicles are to be delivered to Slovakia as early as September 2023, the release said, with the ministry expecting the vehicles made in Slovakia to roll out beginning in 2024 and ending in 2027.
“We will not only meet the 40% level of Slovak defence industry content, but we will even exceed this limit — already today I can confirm a nearly 43% stake, yet this may not be the final figure,” Nad said in a statement Tuesday.
Slovakia’s efforts to improve its inventory of armored vehicles go back several years and are part of the country’s NATO commitments, Jukka Holkeri, executive vice president for Patria’s global division, told Defense News.
“So in that sense, it’s not something that was invented recently,” he explained. “On the other hand, we firmly believe that the Russian aggression to Ukraine has made it more and more important” for countries like Slovakia to invest in defense.
For its part, Finland has learned several lessons from the war in Ukraine, according to Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen. “[I]t has shown how important interoperability across partners is. Also thanks to this, we will give our armed forces the ability to cooperate. We will do all it takes to deliver the vehicles on time, so that Slovakia gets the much needed capabilities,” he was quoted as saying in the Slovak ministry release.
Other nations in Central and Eastern Europe have in recent months worked to strengthen their defenses following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow launched Feb. 24.
Poland expects to receive 250 Abrams tanks from General Dynamics by early 2025, the U.S. Army announced Thursday. Meanwhile, Finland and Sweden announced in May they would seek membership in NATO. And the number of U.S. troops in Europe have increased by about one quarter in 2022, according to the Brookings Institute.
Patria is owned by the Finnish government, which holds 50.1% of the company, and the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, which holds 49.9%.
Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.