Dan Enstedt: Saab Is Committed To Meet Malaysia’s Defence And Security Needs

Interview with Dan Enstedt, President & CEO, Saab Asia Pacific on Saab's presence in and cooperation with Malaysia.

How does Malaysia look at Sweden as a partner in defence?

While there is awareness of Sweden and warmth between the two countries, we will have to do a lot more to share our experience, expertise, technology and our unmatched partnership models in the defence sector.

We believe that there are many shared interests and opportunities to work on together, particularly if one looks at other areas of Malaysian-Swedish relations. As per public statements, over 120 Swedish companies are present in Malaysia – that is a large number by any measurement. There is a strong two-way trade relationship across sectors –from telecom to equipment and cars to capital goods and electronics, textiles, palm oil and rubber.

Given that context, there is reason to feel confident that Saab’s overall defence proposition would be of interest to Malaysia at a broader level. Saab’s approach to partnership, collaborations and cooperation are in harmony with Malaysia’s focus on domestic capability-building through local organizations and we have significant track record of such ventures being successful.

That being said, Sweden and Saab have a long history of supplying high performance, cost efficient defence systems to the Malaysian Armed Forces. These systems include navy and army radar systems, airborne self-protection systems for fighters, naval command and control systems and army support weapons, including anti-tank weapons. Saab’s product portfolio includes many systems that will ensure high tech and proven solutions with good value for money for the planned further development of the Malaysian Armed Forces.

What is the nature of relationship with DRB-HICOM?

We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DRB-HICOM last year. The purpose of the MoUis to broaden and deepen the relationship between the companies which began in 2011.

The agreement between Saab and DRB-HICOM outlines industrial cooperation which will look into areas of technology transfer and buildingexpertise in Malaysia, among others. The agreement with DRB-HICOM is an important step to doing further business in Malaysia and neighbouringcountries.

Earlier, in 2011, DRB-HICOM and Saab signed an industrial cooperation teaming agreement to collaborate on theAirborne Early Warning and Control system (AEW&C). The MoU signed in 2013 is an added effort to broaden and deepen the existing relationship between both of the companies.

Both parties have agreed to explore the various areas of cooperation that include the design and manufacturing of advanced composite systems and components for military and commercial aerospace applications, as well as composite repair technology. In addition to this the agreement also covers UAV systems and technology, system integration of electronic warfare, avionics and other airborne systems.

The partnership is based on the extensive experience, strength and expertise of both companies. Besides supporting the government's defence programmes with solutions that will enhance Malaysia's operational abilities, it will also create business opportunities for both parties.

Further, together, Saab and DRB-HICOMwill create high tech jobs, during the project and during its entire life cycle.

Are you increasing your presence in Malaysia?

Yes, we view Malaysia as one of our key markets. Malaysia is identified as a strategically important market for Saab, therefore Saab is intensifying its efforts and opened an office in KL last year. This a long term commitment based on Saab’s assessment of Malaysia and its defence and security needs.  Saab has cost efficient and proven solutions to offer the Malaysian Armed Forces and security organisations.

Moreover, we are looking at significantly increasing our presence principally through the formation of joint ventures based on acquisition  programs over the next five years.  The MoU with DRB-HICOM is the first step towards anincreased presence and being seen as a company with strong roots in and commitment to Malaysia.

How does Saab see itself meeting the defence requirements of Malaysia?

The Malaysian government is focused on the acquisition of technologically advanced defense equipment across a number of domains. Saab’s systems and equipment offer a viable, effective solution to many of these programmes.

Saab’s association with Malaysia is proven and tested, with initial sales of Carl Gustav dating back to the 1970s. The 9LV CMS was acquired by the Malaysian Navy for 4 fast attack crafts and 2 patrol vessels in the 1990’s. The Malaysian Army acquired the G40 radar in the early 1990’s, and the ARTHUR in late 1990’s while the Malaysian Navy radar was acquired in the late 1990’s. Recently, the Malaysian Air Force has successfully implemented EW systems supplied by Saab.

Saab is committed to developing, manufacturing and supplying innovative, technologically advanced and practical solutions to meet Malaysia’s Defence and security needs.

All of Saab’s Business Areas are active in Malaysia offering high-tech solutions and products such as the Gripen, Skeldar, Remote Towers, C4I, EW (Self Protection Systems), Signature Management, Aeronautical Platforms, Communication Systems, Surveillance systems, Fire Control and Radar Systems.

What programmes of the Malaysian Armed Forces is Saab interested in?

Saab is currently marketing the ERIEYE AEW&C to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, several different systems to both the Royal Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency as well as the Malaysian Army.

Saab is closely following the MRCA program, and when it sees that a formal process has been reinitiated, it will assess the situation; Saab strongly believes that the Gripen will meet, and even go beyond, the requirements of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.