Asian Arms Procurement on the Rise
DSA is known for its display of the world’s sophisticated hardware and electronic warfare in land, air and sea defence, battlefield products/technology, training and simulation systems and police and security peripherals.
DSA is known for its display of the world’s sophisticated hardware and electronic warfare on land, air and sea defence, battlefield products/technology, training and simulation systems and police and security peripherals
THE 14TH DEFENCE SERVICES Asia (DSA) exhibition and conference gets underway from April 14 to 17 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is becoming a ‘must attend’ in the region. It is come into reckoning for its high quality exhibition and is ranked by some agencies to be among the top five defence exhibitions. DSA is known for its display of the world’s sophisticated hardware and electronic warfare in, air and sea defence, battlefield health care products/technology, training and simulation systems and police and security peripherals.
The 14th edition, organised by the Ministry of Defence, Malaysian Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police, has attracted over 1,000 companies from 50 countries and there are 28 country pavilions – that of ASEAN countries.
The major international companies participating include ADS UK, Aimpoint, Armscor, Avibras, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukraine USA and
BAE Systems, Boeing, BrahMos, CETC, CPMIEC, CSTS/CSSC, Denel, DSME, Eurocopter, EID, Expal, Finmeccanica, GIDS, Glock, Kongsberg, Korea Defense Industry Association (KDIA), L-3 TRL Technology, MBDA, Nammo, Nexter, Raytheon, PyserSCI, Renault, RheinMetall AG, Rosoboronexport, Ruag, Russian Technologies, Saab, Sastind, SSM (Turkish Industry Association), Team Defence Australia, Thales, and UKTI-DSO.
The Special features of the show are the Chief of Army Roundtable Talks (CART); ASEAN Hall; Battlefield Healthcare; Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR); Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosion (CBRNe); Cyber Security Conference; Contracts & MOU Signing; Defence Procurement Centre (DPC); Business to Business (B2B) Meetings; Live Army Demonstration and Innovation Centre.
For the very first time, not just at DSA but in the world, an ASEAN Hall will be introduced at DSA 2014. A new and unprecedented element for this year’s exhibition, the main objective of ASEAN Hall is to promote ASEAN solidarity in defence cooperation. In this regard, each member country is invited to showcase the success stories, progress and development of their own defence industry.
DSA 2012 successfully generated RM4.76 billion in investment opportunities, contracts and memoranda of understanding (MoUs), and the coming DSA 2014 is anticipated to achieve even bigger and better numbers.
The Southeast Asian arms market is relatively small—collectively worth about $3 billion annually, but all the major arms exporting nations – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, even Sweden and China – are present here. Unlike China or India who mostly buy from Russia, or Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, who buy from the US, South East Asia is open to all countries and this can be noticed from the diverse procurements. Malaysia has bought tanks from Poland, Su-30 fighter jets from Russia, multiple rocket launchers from Brazil, submarines from France, and corvettes from Germany. Indonesia, armed with a $1billion export credit from Russia, is buying Su-27 and Su-30 fighters, submarines, attack helicopters, corvettes, and land systems.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Malaysia’s military budget has grown more than 75 per cent between 2000 and 2006, from $1.7 billion to $3 billion (in constant 2005 dollars). Though budget has gone up procurements have been slow.
Malaysia, like India, has a national election coming up and till it is over, defence procurement decisions are going to be put on hold. It was in 2010 two major procurement programmes were initiated – the development and order to Deftech of Malaysian for 257 indigenously produced AV8 8x8 AFVs and the construction of six second-generation patrol vessels to be built locally by Boustead Naval Shipyards with the assistance of France’s DCNS. Since then no major procurement programme has been initiated save for the signing in December 2011 of an MYR294 million ($97.3 million) contract for the construction of two training ships for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) by Malaysia’s NGV Tech which would be built with the assistance of South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME).
The Army’s key current ongoing programme is the indigenous AV-8 AFV to be built by Malaysia’s Deftech and based upon the Turkish FNSS PARS AFV. Deftech is partnered with a number of foreign companies in this programme including Britain’s BAE, Turkey’s FNSS, France’s Thales and South Africa’s Denel among others. The 257 vehicles are expected to be an initial batch with the Army expected to order additional vehicles down the line. Potentially down the line, the Army plans to upgrade its tactical 4 x 4s and its truck fleet. In the case of tactical 4 x 4s, though no formal tenders have been called the Malaysian Army is keen to have its over 30 infantry battalions to be equipped as such, a potential order of over 500 vehicles could emerge in the future.
The Army’s requirement include a medium range air defence capability, selfpropelled howitzers, a tactical transport helicopter squadron and an attack helicopter squadron. Both the attack helicopter squadron and the tactical transport helicopter squadron are part of the Army’s 2010 Plus 10 overall development plan which calls for the Army Air Corps to have a squadron each for the light observation, tactical transport and attack role. Currently only the light observation helicopter squadron, equipped with 11 AgustaWestland A109s is in existence. The attack helicopter squadron appears to be a priority for the Army, as the lack of transport helicopters can be made up through cooperation with the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
The Royal Malaysian Navy’s key programme is the six ship second generation
patrol vessel – littoral combat ship (SGPVLCS). The SGPV-LCS are to be the follow-on to the six Kedah class next-generation patrol vessels (NGPV) built by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) though the SGPV-LCS will be bigger and more heavily armed compared to the Kedah class. Despite the LCS name, the SGPV-LCS is a conventional design hull based on DCNS’ Gowind design, DCNS being selected as the foreign partner to work with BNS on the SGPV-LCS programme.
The much talked RMAF programme is the multi-role combat aircraft replacement for the MiG-29 fleet, though the RMAF has indicated that it would like to have the aircraft delivered by 2015 to coincide with the phasing out of the MiG-29. The requirement is 18 aircraft and the deal may not be signed in 2013 following the elections. The aircraft in contention are the Boeing Superhornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon (marketed for BAE) and Saab Gripen. The RMAF expects to take deliveries of its four A400Ms in 2015-16 and is expected to soon issue a tender for the construction of facilities at RMAF Subang to house the A400Ms which will be stationed there.
While Malaysia’s programmes may be delayed, other South East Asian countries are on course, raising the question of a regional arms race. This trend has raised the question whether the procurements of such a relatively large number of advanced weapons by a large number of regional actors within a relatively short amount of time could be destabilising.
PARS 8 x 8 AFV