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Germany has now officially joined the Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) programme by signing its Technical Arrangement, while Sweden, which joined in 2022, has now signed onto the programme’s Framework Agreement as the next stage of preparation for the serial procurement phase, Finland’s Patria announced on 17 April 2023.

On the same day it was also announced by Patria that Sweden had ordered an initial 20 CAVS vehicles.

Originally established by Finland and Latvia, CAVS is a multinational programme focused on joint procurement of the Patria 6×6 armoured vehicle. Finland, Latvia and Estonia have been participating in the programme since 2019, Sweden since 2021 before officially joining and year later, while Germany is now the fifth nation to join the programme. Patria, as the provider of the 6×6 vehicle platform, is responsible for system development within CAVS.

Germany appears to have joined the CAVS programme to determine the extent to which the Bundeswehr’s ageing fleet of Fuchs 6×6 armoured vehicles could be replaced by a platform that is available on the market. Currently, the Bundeswehr still has around 900 Fuchs vehicles in use in about 30 different variants.

While Germany’s joining the CAVS programme will not necessarily lead to procurement of the vehicle, on 1 November 2022 the German Federal Ministry of Defence announced that it intends to procure vehicles from Patria for internal Bundeswehr tests, for which EUR 25 M has reportedly been set aside for the second half of 2023.

A Patria 6×6/CAVS vehicle configured to carry Patria’s 120 mm Nemo mortar system. (Photo: Patria)

Should the Bundeswehr decide in favour of the CAVS vehicle, licensed production in Germany is conceivable, as Patria CEO Esa Rautalinko explained in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt at the beginning of January 2023. According to well-informed circles, Patria is currently holding talks with several German tank builders on how licenced production in Germany could look. According to the reports, talks have been or are being held with FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft mbH, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall.

The Patria 6×6 is based on the XA-180 series of 6×6 armoured vehicles that Finland’s Sisu series-produced from 1984 and sold to a number of mostly European countries. Compared to its predecessor, however, the Patria 6×6 has a number of features including a more powerful powerplant and modern electronics.

The Patria 6×6/CAVS has a maximum combat weight of 24 tonnes, a maximum payload of 8,500 kg and in its armoured personnel carrier (APC) configuration can carry up to 10 soldiers in the rear plus a crew of two in the front cabin. Powered by a Scania DC 09 diesel engine developing 294 kW, the vehicle has a maximum speed of more than 100 km/h on land, up to 8 km/h in water and a range greater than 700 km.

While the vehicle has STANAG Level 2 ballistic and mine protection as standard, this can be increased to STANAG Level 4 if required.

Beyond its basic role as an APC, the Patria 6×6/CAVS can be configured for a variety of other roles, such as a command vehicle, medical evacuation vehicle, heavy APC or as a carrier for the 120 mm Patria Nemo mortar system.

Waldemar Geiger & Peter Felstead