US firm Integrated Surveillance and Defense (ISD) sees several opportunities in Southeast Asia to update legacy aircraft to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) work.

The market is being driven by governments’ increasing concerns about encroachments into their exclusive economic zones, according to ISD president Blaise Dagilaitis.


Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

ISD has previously worked on an upgrade for the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s CN235 fleet

For example, the Philippines has seen China’s construction of island bases on reefs located in areas claimed by Manilla, while illegal incursions by fishing vessels – again China is a major culprit – is an issue across the region.

The US government is a major proponent of Southeast Asian countries boosting their ISR capabilities. Washington DC’s Indo Pacific Maritime Security Initiative is focused on improving the capability of regional players to police their oceanic frontiers. 

The region’s maritime security challenges have resulted in a number of opportunities for ISD. Dagilaitis, speaking with FlightGlobal at the recent Singapore air show, says the company has done considerable work with both Indonesia and Malaysia, collaborating with airframer Indonesian Aerospace to install maritime patrol capabilities aboard locally produced CN235s. Additions included an electro-optical/infrared sensor, radar, and communications equipment.

ISD is also looking to help upgrade a pair of legacy Indonesian CN235s that serve in the maritime patrol mission. Another project in Indonesia involves installing a maritime ISR capability on an Indonesian navy Beechcraft King Air that is serving in the VIP transport role.

In the Philippines, ISD is working on an opportunity related to King Air 90s that were supplied to the navy by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. Manila wants to modify the aircraft, which formerly served in the training mission, with a surveillance capability.

“It’s a quick solution to patrol their waters more efficiently,” says Dagilaitis.

Apart from Southeast Asia, the company sees broad needs globally for ISR-equipped aircraft. The company is involved in aircraft modification work for the US Customs and Border Protection, and has been involved in projects in Australia, Mexico, Peru, and Senegal.