IMDEX 2011: Australia highlights South-East Asian strategy
The Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is looking to extend its influence in South-East Asia with negotiations ongoing for sizeable armoured vehicle and UAV contracts in the region, officials have stated.
Present at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) in Singapore, DMO head of export programmes Terry Whelan said Thales Australia was chasing a requirement from the Indonesian armed forces for between 20 and 30 Bushmaster protected patrol vehicles. He said a sale was 'very, very close' to being closed.
Currently, Bushmaster vehicles are used by Australian, Dutch and UK armed forces and a successful bid would be Thales Australia's first foothold in South-East Asia with a ground vehicle. Elsewhere, Whelan told Shephard that there was additional interest from international armed forces in Canada, Denmark, France and Jordan. The latter is looking to procure a number of Bushmaster vehicles for a forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Describing how there had yet to be a fatality on board a Bushmaster vehicle following an improvised explosive device incident, Whelan said: 'It's got great off-road capability so the troops are not stuck on roads'.
In addition, Whelan said Insitu was looking to extend its relationship with Singapore. The company has already supplied the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) with a number of ScanEagle UAVs which started with trials on a frigate and landing ship during March 2009. In tests, the UAV was launched and recovered from helicopter decks in order to conduct day and night missions utilising EO/IR payloads.
Whelan added that discussions were also ongoing to supply the RSN with Insitu's Integrator system. The UAV was selected in August last year for the US Navy's Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System programme.
Elsewhere, the DMO's Defence Export Unit which is also known as 'Team Australia' already provides C4I, radar and antenna technology to armed forces in South-East Asia.
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