Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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The establishment of KONGSBERG in Finland took place in connection with the contract for supply of NASAMS in 2009. At the time it was the largest single contract with a value of just under three billion Norwegian kroner.
In 2011, KONGSBERG opened a new plant in Hämeenlinna consisting of 300 square metres of office space and a 1,700 square metre hall. NASAMS FIN was put into operation by the client with effect from 2013, and the last deliveries from KONGSBERG were made in 2016 when the project was formally completed.
Today, activities at the plant in Hämeenlinna consist of the servicing and maintenance of NASAMS FIN and ongoing upgrades of the system. The plant is also used to support other delivery projects on NASAMS.
At the office in Vantaa, just ten minutes from Helsinki- Vantaa Airport, is Tommi Malinen, who is Managing Director of Kongsberg Defence Oy. Tommi Malinen mainly works on business development.
He says that there are multiple acquisition programmes in Finland that are of interest to KONGSBERG.
“We support KONGSBERG in all the major business opportunities that we have here in Finland. This means fact-finding and obtaining other relevant information, as well as engaging in networking and participating in client events. These are all the kinds of activities that you cannot take part in without having a presence here in Finland.”
“Which procurement programmes are of most interest to KONGSBERG right now?”
“From an opportunity perspective, I must say that this is quite an exceptional phase. I’ve been in this business for 30 years, first in the navy and later in industry. I cannot remember a phase where there have been quite so many opportunities of this scale at the same time, which of course is a good situation.”
Tommi Malinen lists several opportunities where the Finnish Armed Forces will make significant acquisitions in the years to come.
There is an opportunity to supply anti-ship missiles to the Finnish Navy, and an opportunity linked to Finland’s acquisition of new multi-role combat aircraft to replace the F-18 by the end of the 2020s.
“The Finnish Air Force is interested in the Joint Strike Missile at the moment. It remains unclear whether Finland will choose the F-35 or another fighter jet, but we are working actively with all the potential suppliers”, says Tommi Malinen.
“Finland is continuously evaluating adding new capabilities to NASAMS, including longer-range missiles complimentary to their existing solution. This may be an interesting future opportunity,” says Tommi Malinen.
“NASAMS FIN was officially completed last year.” How would you sum up this project?”
“To borrow a phrase from the Finnish Armed Forces, NASAMS FIN has been ‘an extremely successful programme’”. NASAMS FIN has been the largest single programme in Finland since the acquisition of the F-18 in the early 1990s.
KONGSBERG supplied the system at the right time with the right quality and on budget. I think we’ve built up a lot of positivity in Finland. Not just from a client perspective, but for the entire KONGSBERG brand.”
In March 2016, KONGSBERG announced the acquisition of 49.9 per cent of the shares in the Finnish defence contractor Patria. At the end of 2016, the company had a total of 2,765 employees and a turnover last year of 489.9 million euros.
The company is Finland’s leading defence supplier and it has a broad and modern product portfolio. We are now working to identify synergies and common opportunities for KONGSBERG, Patria and Nammo, where Patria owns half the shares.
“This close relationship makes it possible to esta blish in-depth cooperation which would not otherwise have been possible. We are talking about cooperation reaching to the core of the systems and collaboration on developing software and source codes.»
«What is important to the Finnish Armed Forces is the so-called ‘security of supply’. When Finland acquires a large system, it does not want to be dependent on a foreign company or another nation for support and maintenance in emergencies. It is therefore important to build up capacities here in Finland”, explains Tommi Malinen and continues:
“Patria is already an established company here in Finland. They have expertise that we can build on, rather than us start from scratch. As such, I think it will open up very positive opportunities for cooperation between KONGSBERG and Patria in the future.”
Another area of opportunity for KONGSBERG in Finland is Remote Tower, a system for remote tower services at airports. In Norway, the system is under development in cooperation with Avinor and will be put into operation at a number of airports with effect from 2018.
According to Tommi Malinen, the Finns are also looking at this innovative solution to reduce the cost of airport operations and ensure increased capacity at small airports.
“This is a very interesting area and very different to what we are working towards within defence. It is therefore a good example of how the office in Finland can support several different business areas and divisions in its marketing work.»
«I believe there are opportunities for KONGSBERG in Finland that have yet to be explored. But it does require us to have an ongoing dialogue. We are a small team and cannot contact everyone in the group, but everyone who has activities linked to Finland is more than welcome to contact us for local support”, says Tommi Malinen.