Boeing’s defence unit continues to hunt down a range of opportunities in Asia-Pacific, including the sale of more airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft to South Korea, F-15 upgrades, and sales of maritime patrol aircraft.

Speaking with reporters prior to this week’s Singapore air show, Jeff Kohler, vice-president of international business development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said Asia, the Middle East, and Europe continue to be key areas for the US aerospace firm.

"Korea has four [737 AEW&C aircraft], and they're just flying the wings off of them. We believe that when they have an opportunity they are going to ask for at least two more,” says Kohler.

Apart from the two possible South Korean jets, two Middle East countries are exploring AEW&C aircraft, and the United Arab Emirates continues to be interested in the long-term acquisition of an AEW&C platform. Kohler stresses, however, that the collapse in oil prices in the last two years has slowed defence procurement in that region.

There is also increasing interest regionally in upgrading legacy F-15s, with Japan looking at upgrading its large fleet of F-15Cs and Ds. Kohler points out that for F-15s to effectively coordinate with the Lockheed Martin F-35 it will need upgrades to datalinks and other improvements. Both Japan and South Korea are major operators of the F-15, and future customers of the F-35.

He says the F-15’s speed, range, and large payload mean it will “be around a long time.”

Kohler also said that Asia-Pacific countries are increasingly cognisant of the need to monitor their littorals. It is in discussions with several countries regarding its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), which ports the mission system of the P-8A Poseidon into a smaller platform. In recent years Boeing has brought its MSA demonstrator, a modified Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet, to the region.

Monitoring the littoral, however, is about more than just adding an aircraft: “Many times its an integrated solution that best fits countries. Across the globe a lot of it is affordability. We're finding MSA has a lot of interest, but cost is a major factor. We're looking for ways to reduce that cost and come up with different options for equipment that may better suit certain countries.”