Finnish firm Patria presents a prototype future armored personnel carrier on June 18, 2024 at Eurosatory in Paris. (Andrew White / Breaking Defense)

EUROSATORY 2024 — The war in Ukraine has stretched military stockpiles in Europe and North America to their limits, forcing NATO to demand member states pursue multi-national projects and procurements to encourage greater economies of scale, cooperation and interoperability.

In that spirit of broad cooperation, Finnish firm Patria unveiled this week the first prototype vehicle in the pan-European Future Highly Mobile Augmented Armoured System (FAMOUS) initiative.

The prototype is a 15-ton armoured personnel carrier (APC) variant, capable of carrying a crew of two and 10 personnel and payload of 3.5 tons. It can purportedly reach a top speed of 88 kilometers per hour (55 mph) with a maximum range of 600 kilometers (373 miles) and capability to move across “soft soil, hard ground and snow,” Jussi Järvinen, executive vice president at Patria’s Finland Division told Breaking Defense. Additional variants are expected to be designed in the future.

Two FAMOUS prototypes are expected to begin trials with the Finnish Defense Forces sometime in the winter in Lapland later this year.

FAMOUS is a multi-lateral effort funded by the European Commission that is led by Finland but also includes Latvia, Greece, Norway, Austria, France, Denmark, Spain and Romania.

As coordinator of the program, Patria heads up the design effort supported by 34 European companies including France’s Arquus, Belgium’s John Cockerill, Norway’s Kongsberg, Spain’s Indra and Germany’s Diehl Defence.

The first phase of the program — the “FAMOUS 1” concept study — was funded from the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). A follow-on “implementation phase” (FAMOUS 2), which will run through to 2026, is supported by the European Defence Fund (EDF). Total investment has reached EUR95m with an additional EUR19m invested by participating governments.

According to a Patria statement today, the aim of the FAMOUS program is to “… improve the performance of new and existing armoured vehicles with the support of EU funding … with the new tracked vehicle platform [comprising] a multi-purpose solution for all kinds of operational environments”.

Senior Vice President, Protected Mobility and Defence Systems at Patria, Mikko Karppinen added, “The FAMOUS program is fully aligned with the European Commission’s goal to enhance the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the EU’s defence industry.”

Serial production of FAMOUS APCs is scheduled to begin in 2027 with Järvinen suggesting the platform would be an ideal candidate to replace legacy platforms including the M113 and MT-LB multi-purpose tracked armored fighting vehicles as well as articulated tracked vehicles.

Järvinen also indicated FAMOUS would have greater levels in protection and speed in comparison to the latter vehicle types. FAMOUS vehicles will be are protected up to NATO STANAG Level K1 and M1 as “light” APCs and have capacity to travel through water at speeds up to 4 kilometers per hour (2.5 mph).

At Eurosatory, the prototype was displayed with Kongsberg’s Protector RS6 remote weapon station (RWS) with 30mm cannon from KNDS France.

Kongsberg marketing director for North Europe, Gard Brandsaeter, confirmed to Breaking Defense the RS6 will be integrated on board the second FAMOUS prototype for live fire trials scheduled to begin in Finland in the third quarter of 2026.

He also said Kongsberg is exploring manned-unmanned teaming concepts should FAMOUS APCs be deployed as an uncrewed ground vehicle — an area of the program led by Diehl.

Finally, a defense source associated with the program told Breaking Defense that the Finnish Defense Forces, who supported the initial design and development of the prototype vehicle, would likely become the launch customer for the new product, although no decision has yet been made.