Finnish firm Patria has developed a new 6x6 wheeled APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) to replace the 1984 AMV XA series of 6x6 wheeled APCs. The new HAPC (Heavy APC) is heavier, at 24 tons, than the older 13.5-ton XA model and appears similar, with a bullet-proof windshield. Both vehicles are equipped to deal with mines and roadside bombs. The HAPC is much better protected against projectiles larger than 12.7mm and 14.5mm heavy machine-gun bullets. The mine/bomb protection is much improved and crew and passengers have shock-resistant seats that protect against the shock of a bomb or mine explosion. The XA was armed with, at most, a 12.7mm machine-gun. The HAPC can use a RWS (Remote Weapon System) with a crew member in the vehicle operating a heavy machine-gun or 25mm autocannon. The 24-ton weight of the HAPC includes an 8.5-ton payload. That payload can be reduced by more than a ton if protection is increased with the addition of modular armor panels. These can protect against 30mm shells and larger shell fragments.
The later model XA series vehicles, especially the XA-220, received many of the HAPC capabilities. While the XA had a crew of two and up to 16 passengers, the HAPC has a crew of three and more comfortable accommodations for ten passengers. Both old and new designs can also be configured as a mobile command post, ambulance, reconnaissance or `10mm mortar carrier. The XA had a top road speed of 105 kilometers an hour while the HAPC is 100 kilometers an hour. The XA had a max range of 900 kilometers on internal fuel and the HAPC is said to be similar. HAPC is also amphibious while only some of the later XA models had that capability. HAPC also has a full set of external day/night cameras that enables the crew to stay inside and still be aware of outside activity while traveling through hostile territory.
A major improvement in the HAPC is that it is easier to handle in snow and rough terrain. The HAPC uses a modern vehicle monitoring and driver control system. When users of the older XA vehicles got to drive the HAPC prototypes, they were surprised at how much easier it was to handle off- road, especially in deep snow. While the 1,200 or so XA vehicles produced were favorites for peacekeeping missions, the HAPC was designed mainly to provide a vehicle better able to deal with the Russian army. That’s why Latvia, one of the three Baltic States (along with Lithuania and Estonia) have been looking for such a wheeled vehicle, to get infantry units around quickly in the early stages of a Russian invasion. All the Baltic States joined NATO in 2004 and that required upgrading their Soviet era weapons and vehicles. Latvia bought hundreds of used British tracked vehicles rather than new wheeled APCs that other new NATO nations obtained.
Latvia is buying at least 200 HAPCs and gets a production license so most can be made in Latvia. The Finnish army is also negotiating a major purchase. The HAPC was first displayed in 2018 and already improvements have been made as potential customers took test drives.