Saab continues to see interest in Southeast Asia for maritime surveillance and patrol aircraft.

A key driver of recent interest is the growing number of submarines being acquired in the region, says Anders Dahl, the head of Saab Singapore.

“The interest in anti-submarine warfare is increasing,” says Dahl. “There is great interest in both maritime patrol and also conducting surveillance.”

In addition, Southeast Asian nations are curious about arming their maritime patrol aircraft with light torpedoes. Saab, however, has not seen great interest in arming these aircraft with other weapons, such as guns or missiles.

Saab does not produce dedicated MPA or ASW platforms, but can integrate its Swordfish MPA system on fixed wing aircraft depending on a client’s requirements. In Dahl’s presentation, he showed images of both the Bombardier Q400 and Saab 2000 turboprop airliners equipped with the system,

Apart from the growing number of submarines in the region, Dahl says there are a range of challenges regionally that are prompting countries in the region to look at beefing up their maritime surveillance capabilities. These include territorial disputes in the South China Sea, growing piracy, as well as the smuggling of both people and contraband.

Dahl adds that Malaysia has shown “strong interest” in the company’s Gripen fighter, which is a contender in the country’s long-running multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) competition for 16 fighters to replace the nation’s Mikoyan MiG-29s.

“I have no doubt that the Gripen is the most cost effective solution for Malaysia,” he says.

Other contenders for the requirement are the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Dassault Rafale.