The Sisu XA-185 is a six-wheeled armored personal carrier manufactured in large numbers and multiple variants by Patria for the Finnish Defense Forces and other operators. Through its history Frestems had delivered numerous stretcher loading systems for the XA-series ambulance vehicles but in late 2010 the Finnish customer came up with urgent need for a new special, modernized version of the ambulance vehicle for the upcoming UN peacekeeping operation. Time schedule for the procurement was especially challenging as the ambulances were scheduled for shipment to Afghanistan in only a year.
Frestems was, for the first time in company history, contracted as the prime contractor for the Finnish Defense Forces and responsible for the delivery of XA-185 ambulances as a turnkey project. The basic vehicle frames existed already, but needed upgrades because of the significantly increased mine and IED requirements in the UN peacekeeping missions. The ballistic protection also required updates.
Scope of the project was therefore wider than ever before in Frestems’ history. Large amount of system design work, verification, manufacturing as well as documentation needed to be completed in a very short timeline. Frestems subcontracted hull upgrades, weight reduction and ballistic protection from the original manufacturer, Patria Land Services. Electrical installation and painting were implemented in cooperation with local subcontractors. The ambulances also need to be certified to comply with numerous traffic regulations and laws. Despite the challenging delivery pace, Frestems managed to successfully keep the schedule and deliver the ambulances in time for UN operation.
The key factor for success in ambulance manufacturing is proper layout for stretcher platforms, seats and medical equipment. The layout practically determines how operational and functional the ambulance will be during its missions. During the layout design phase, the right trade-offs needs to be done and key decision and priorities set. In this project the first preliminary layout design was made already in tender phase. After layout design, the system was divided to sub projects, enabling parallel design progression for each subsystem. Project was utilizing the latest technology in stretcher loading systems. Main stretcher place ProMIL 245 was located on the left hand side sponson, offering ergonomic loading and safe transportation. ProMIL 240 foldable stretcher places were provided as a secondary and third stretcher places at both sides of the central corridor. This solution offered a good compromise between good ergonomics, high capacity and free space in vehicle to transport several patients.
The XA-185s have excellent reputation being reliable vehicles on any mission. We are proud to introduce this modern ambulance variant design for all XA-185 operators. We truly see that up-to-date technology can extend the service lifetime of these vehicles far into the future.