HELSINKI — Finnish state-controlled Patria Group Oy has secured an export license to sell an unspecified number of 8x8 AMV armored vehicles to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Patria, which described the deal as significant, said financial details around the contract would remain classified.

The delivery is expected to be within the range of 40 to 90 units, if options for an additional 50 units on the suspected core 40-unit order are exercised. The contract price agreed with the UAE excludes weapons systems.

A large part of the order will be produced under license by Rosomak SA, Patria's cooperation partner in Poland that delivers hulls for new Patria AMV contracts. Some 50 percent of all Patria 8x8 AMVs are manufactured in Poland. By taking advantage of Poland's lower labor costs, Patria is able to optimize production-related savings and pitch more competitive bids for its armored vehicle offerings.

It is believed the 8x8 AMVs earmarked for delivery to the UAE will be equipped with remote weapon stations armed with 12.7mm machine guns. Units may also be equipped with 40mm automatic grenade launchers.

The export license obtained by Patria was sanctioned by Finland's Council of State after it was approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Council of State, which is effectively the Finnish cabinet, has the final say in important arms sales under the Finnish constitution.

"The related statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declares that it sees no international or security policy obstacles to granting an export permit," Sanna Poutiainen, a senior adviser at the ministry, said.

The UAE's armed forces currently operate older versions of the Patria AMV within the Army's armored fleet. Patria sold a small number of AMVs to the UAE in 2008, in addition to supplying Nemo mortar systems to the country's navy.

"The 8x8 AMVs will be produced by our Polish partner under a very tight time schedule. The agreement reached is very significant for Patria," Mika Kari, president of Patria's land business area, said.

Patria has delivered around 1,400 AMVs under previous and ongoing contracts to armed forces in Finland, Sweden, Poland, Croatia and South Africa. Patria AMVs have been deployed by Polish and UAE army units in Afghanistan.

The Polish army has also operated the Patria AMV in support of infantry units in Chad, as part of the European Union Force Chad crisis management mission in 2007. Poland contributed 400 ground troops, Mi-17 helicopters and a C-295 transport aircraft to that mission.

The UAE is expected to deploy the Patria UAVs with land force units supporting the Saudi Arabia-led nine Arab state coalition force fighting the Houthis, a religious-political rebel militia movement in Yemen. The UAE is providing both air and ground troops to the coalition.

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