Singapore may possess armed forces whose strength belies the city-state's small size, but the UK has failed to put in similar efforts to sell defence material here. Alan Garwood, head of UK defence export sales, hopes to remedy that.

"The Defence Export Sales Organisation (DESO) has been working with the UK defence industry to improve the UK position in Singapore," he says. "We now have a DESO First Secretary in the High Commission and are working hard to raise the profile of the UK defence industry, particularly in the aerospace sector."


He says the UK definitely sees Singapore as a growing market. Singapore devotes about 5% of its GDP to defence, indicating the importance which the government attaches to defence.

"The indicators are positive for Singapore's economy in 2004; analysts are forecasting GDP growth of 5-6%. There are also signs of growing confidence in the country.

"All this means Singapore will be spending a lot more on defence. Furthermore Singapore has a highly professional and capable armed force and wants the latest defence technology."


Garwood accepts that governmental support, which is what DESO offers, can be crucial in the sort of relationship-building necessary for large-scale platform purchases. The most obvious forthcoming example is the fighter competition now being staged by Singapore's air force, in which Eurofighter Typhoon is one of three shortlisted contenders.

"We can promote products by helping to build relationships between governments and between foreign government and UK industries. We can discuss some of the wider issues of product campaigns such as technology transfer, something that industry often can't do alone. Sometimes simply myself or the minister attending a show can help increase the profile of campaigns and UK interests generally."

DESO is supporting all members of the Society of British Aerospace Companies exhibiting at Asian Aerospace.


Source: Flight Daily News