Alan Garwood, head of defence exports with the UK’s Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), said that research predicts a “meteoric” increase in activity in the Asia Pacific region, which, he predicted, would soon overtake the Middle East.

Key UK products in the region include the BAE Systems Hawk trainer – “We’ve sold 1,000 Hawks and never lost a competition”, Garwood said, comparing this to the rival T-50 and M346, neither of which have achieved an export sale. Garwood revealed that he expected the aircraft to return to the region later this year, and spoke of his hopes that Singapore might be a customer for Hawk as part of a training system, like the UK’s MFTS, and that a PFI arrangement might be possible.

Garwood also outlined the excellent prospects for Agusta-Westland’s EH101 helicopter, which is being evaluated by a number of countries in the region, for the VIP and Combat SAR roles, while the first of fourteen Merlins has been delivered to the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force for use in the mine countermeasures role. Garwood reported that RAF Merlins in Iraq have now flown more than 4,000 hours in theatre, and that they are achieving availability rates of more than 90%, with individual crews flying up to 89 hours per month – “Doing exactly the mission that the USAF want 140 aircraft to do” according to Garwood.

Source: Flight Daily News