Saab sees an increasing demand for its portfolio of defence products in Southeast Asia, and is particularly focused on opportunities in the maritime surveillance mission.

Anders Dahl, head of Saab Singapore, says the countries in Southeast Asia will need to grow their capabilities to better control their littoral regions and oceanic frontiers.

Dahl made the remarks to journalists on the sidelines of last week’s Shangri-La Dialogues forum in Singapore. The event sees defence leaders from around the world meet to discuss strategic issues in the Asia Pacific. It was the first time a Saab presentation coincided with the event.

The big theme of this year’s event was China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China and East China Seas.

Dahl’s presentation placed great emphasis on the Saab 340 Maritime Security Aircraft, which the company brought to the Singapore air show in February. Dahl says Saab has held discussions with several governments in the region about their maritime patrol requirements, although he declined to give specifics about prospective customers.

Dahl added that there is also growing interest in the region for unmanned aerial systems, such as Saab’s Skeldar, that can be deployed from warships.

Dahl says that both fixed wing MSA aircraft and systems such as the Skeldar can assist countries perform a range of missions in both peacetime and during a conflict. Key peacetime missions include search and rescue, anti-smuggling patrols, and the monitoring of exclusive economic zones.