The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) plans to buy shipborne unmanned air vehicles to complement its existing maritime patrol operations.
MMEA director general Amdan bin Kurish says the agency has spoken to the unmanned systems technology unit of Malaysian government-owned aerospace technology firm CTRM about the matter.
It has also talked to privately owned Malaysian technology and engineering firm Sapura Group. Sapura owns Australia's Cyber Technology, a developer and manufacturer of UAVs.
Selex Galileo's vice-president regional marketing Marco Galletto says the Anglo-Italian firm has also presented its Falco UAV (below) to Malaysian authorities, including the MMEA.
Amdan says the MMEA has briefed UAV firms that it wants shipborne UAVs with a range of 100km (54nm).
"We have a limited number of offshore vessels, so we need to have these UAVs to monitor around 100km from the vessel," he says. "We want the UAVs to be launched and controlled from the ship, and a transmission of data that is clear."
When asked when the MMEA plans to place an order for such unmanned systems, Amdan says there is no timeframe yet.
"Let them come up with the solution," he adds.
Besides ships, the MMEA also operates three helicopters and two Bombardier 415 amphibious fixed-wing aircraft.