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.

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - R. Chan­drakanth

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.

Asian Spec­tre

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.

Malaysian Per­spec­tive

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

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