ESD spoke with Jonas Geust, President of SYSTEMS at Patria, about the companies future plans and projects. The questions were asked by Stephen Elliott.
ESD: Please would tell our readers a little more about Patria’s business and role as a systems integrator – and the start and continued growth of this corporate sector?
Geust: Patria is a partner of the Finnish Defence Forces in supporting life cycle management of variety of platforms and systems. This is in the core of Patria’s business and we have a long history in this type of operations. Next year, Patria will celebrate its 100-year anniversary, too.
Patria’s focuses in developing the life cycle of systems from the perspective of capabilities. We benefit from our strong expertise and long history in system-of-systems; in particular, in the integration of weapon system to ship in the naval domain.
We can lean on our extensive technical know-how in different types of systems and we are also able to offer our own products in the area of e.g. underwater systems and passive sensors, among others.
Patria will also play a role in the new and upcoming major domestic Finnish programs such as the SQ2020 for the navy and HX for the air force.
ESD: Why was the MLU undertaken – was it always planned or did the Finnish MOD recognise a need through an evaluation process? What is the budget for an MLU and how does it compare to ships replacements?
Geust: It was a planned part of the vessel class life cycle – schedule-wise also taking place between other types of MLU projects and schedules were planned to match other programs.
Patria’s share of the SQ2000 program was around €170 million without options at the time of signature of the agreement.
ESD: How did Patria or the MOD arrive at the conclusion that this MLU will secure the vessel’s like until at least 2030?
Geust: The basis for the MLU design approach was that the vessels will remain operational into the 2030s. Therefore, all the planned actions and systems we selected accordingly.
ESD: What happens after 2030, is there still a chance of further modernisations or will Finland find it cheaper to build new vessels?
Geust: As mentioned, the planned life cycle of the vessels extends into the 2030s and Patria has no knowledge of any further modernisation plans for the vessels at this moment.
ESD: What does the MLU project consist of for these four vessels for the Finnish Navy, besides the addition of ASW – anything else such as CIWS or MCM?
Geust: The new capabilities that can be identified are the new Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM), Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSM) and Remote Weapon Station (RWS) in addition the mentioned ASW capabilities such as the new torpedo.
ESD: Which other companies is it working with in its role of prime contractor? – are most / all of them Finnish?
Geust: The breakdown of the dozen or so suppliers is roughly consisting of 50% domestic and 50% foreign subcontractors and suppliers. Domestically e.g. Western Shipyard Ltd. takes care of the shipyard repairs and overhaul and internationally Saab supplies the torpedo, 9LV CMS and RWS for the vessel.
ESD: To what extent is the HAMINA class missile boat Tornio better than it was in terms of capabilities and overall cost efficiencies / savings for the Finnish Navy?
Geust: As mentioned, it provides the new capabilities in the domains of ASW, RWS, SAM and SSM, so there are quite extensive set of new or improved capabilities.
Further information needs to be asked from the Navy.
ESD: How can other navies benefit from Patria’s MLU upgrades and systems integration expertise?
Geust: Patria has honed its expertise and processes already in the earlier programs such as Rauma-class upgrade program for the Navy and Hawk trainer jet upgrade program for the Air Force, so we know how to successfully execute large scale and technologically complex integration programs.
We always carry out these types of programs in a very close collaboration with the customer and execute design-to-cost approach to maximize the overall resulting capability increase.
We have supplier agnostic approach and role to all our design choices. For us it is essential to have transparent price-to-performance criteria in place so that the customer can trust us to get the best value for the money they spent.