How has the security situation changed in the Asia Pacific region and what can Saab deliver in this context?
I think there are three major issues to consider. First, security concerns now have multiple dimensions as terrorism and action by non-state actors have emerged as the biggest challenge over land, at sea, on borders and in urban areas. Asia Pacific nations have to confront terrorist threats, and need to equip themselves with advanced systems and well-trained soldiers to deal with non-conventional conflict.
Second, the decline in oil prices and the wider global slowdown means that countries want and need smart, affordable systems. There is a growing realisation that technology has to be effective, but it must also be affordable to acquire and operate over the long-term; without meeting this challenge our armed forces and security organisations will not be able function.
Finally, the region as a whole is committed to ensuring that purchase of defence systems should build a better, broader defence capability. Companies providing defence solutions need to be good partners who can transfer relevant, useful technology to domestic industry.
Saab has a proven track record in all of these respects. Our wide portfolio across land, air and naval domains has the right solutions for every type of threat. Saab’s constant focus on lifecycle cost management ensures that our products are never too expensive to procure, maintain or deploy. Lastly, Saab has a long and successful history of working with national industries to transfer technology and co-develop the next generation of technologies in proper partnership. We see Saab’s role in Asia Pacific as a company that not only supplies the best products but also helps build new capabilities in each country.
How do you see the Asia Pacific defence market shaping up?
The Asia Pacific region is one of the world’s largest defence markets. We are seeing the region evolve from dependence on a small group of suppliers, based on historic relationships, to a market that acquires cutting-edge, customised solutions that meet well-defined requirements from national armed forces. Customers are demanding much better return on investment from their expenditure, which is clearly of great importance in these financially constrained times. There is also greater focus on indigenisation and localisation.
For Saab, Asia Pacific is a focus market area where our company has significantly expanded our presence and participates in multiple defence programmes. Saab products are in service with many countries across the region, including Korea, Japan, China (commercial AIS), Thailand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
To a country like Malaysia, what can a partnership with Saab mean?
The Malaysian government is focused on the acquisition of technologically advanced defence equipment across a number of domains. Saab’s systems and equipment offer a compelling mix of high technology and effectiveness combined with deep design skills, common sense and experience.
Saab’s focus is on building proper partnerships with national industry. We encourage co-development, we deliver transfer of know-how and we help build the capacity to take advantage of that transferred technology. We are a reliable partner to build security for borders, nations and people.
For instance, Saab has industrial co-operation agreements with Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech), a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Berhad.
For the last couple of years, we have also successfully established a close cooperation with the Malaysian Defence University, UPNM, and have explored various projects to share high technology knowledge with Malaysia.
How can Saab meet the defence requirements of Malaysia?
Saab has a long history of supplying high performance, cost efficient defence systems to the Malaysian armed forces such as radars, airborne self-protection for fighters, naval command and control and army support weapons, including anti-tank weapons.
Saab’s association with Malaysia is proven and tested, with initial sales of the Carl-Gustaf dating back to the 1970s. The 9LV combat management system was acquired by the Malaysian Navy to equip fast attack craft and patrol vessels in the 1990s. The Malaysian Army acquired the Giraffe radar in the early 1990s, the Arthur radar in late 1990s and additional radars went to the Malaysian Navy at the same time. Recently, the Malaysian Air Force has successfully integrated electronic warfare (EW) systems supplied by Saab.
To Malaysia we bring independent technology, affordable products with low life cycle costs, and complete transfer of technology. Products and solutions such as Gripen, Remote Tower, C4I, EW (self protection systems), signature management, aeronautical platforms, communication systems, surveillance systems, fire control and radar systems, warheads and combat management systems are all part of our portfolio.
What is the nature of Saab’s relationship with DRB-HICOM?
We have a robust relationship with DRB-HICOM. The partnership between the two companies is based on our collective experience, strength and expertise. Besides supporting the Malaysian government's defence programmes with solutions that enhance the nation’s operational capabilities, the agreements between the two companies create business opportunities for us both.
Early last year we signed a new industrial co-operation agreement with Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (Deftech), a wholly owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Berhad, to deepen and broaden the existing relationship between the two companies by adding the Gripen system to our joint planning. This agreement covered areas such as Gripen-related maintenance and support activities, design and manufacturing of advanced composite systems and associated technology transfer.
This new agreement between Saab and Deftech outlines planned industrial co-operation which will explore areas of technology transfer and bring further expertise to Malaysia.
In 2011, we signed an industrial co-operation teaming agreement to collaborate on an airborne early warning and control system. This co-operation was further expanded in March 2013 with the signature of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering various technology areas.