Due to the emergency measures implemented to fight the Covid-19 novel coronavirus, the technical agreement was also signed remotely by Finnish Defence Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Jukka Juusti and Estonian Defence Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Kristjan Prikk. “We began planning the procurement of armored vehicles with Estonian and Finnish colleagues at the end of last year, and the document signed today is a strong confirmation of our common goals as NATO allies,” said the Latvian defence minister.
“I'm confident that the initiative will significantly strengthen not only the individual countries, but the security and combat capabilities of the whole Baltic region,” continued Pabriks.
As previously reported, the common army mobility system will be based on the Finnish-made Patria 6x6 armored wheeled combat vehicle. The agreement signed by Latvia and Finland on January 29 will provide the basis for a more beneficial procurement offer and mutual interoperability of armored vehicles, including maintenance and repair capacity, along with strengthening local industrial capacity.
The cooperation program, which allows for the possibility of additional countries to join, will enhance mobility, be more cost-effective, and improve interoperability and security for the participation countries. If the research and development stage is successful, the National Armed Forces could receive the vehicles as soon as 2021, with yearly deliveries over 10 years.
The price of the armored vehicles will be set during discussions with the merchant based on Latvia's needs, such as number of units, modifications and variety. The technical agreement is political and not legally binding, and doesn't require any of the signatories to ensure specific services or products, according to the Latvian Defense Ministry.