From OPVS to M777 Howitzers

Interview with Ryan Ives, business director, BAE Systems, Thailand.


Can you brief us on BAE Systems presence in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region? How long has BAE Systems been in Asia?

BAE Systems has been in South East Asia for over 20 years, with an office network and presence across Asia. In Thailand, as throughout the region, we have an installed base across land, sea and air, and we are active across all sectors, where we see a number of opportunities for both new defence equipment, as well as upgrades.

What is BAE Systems marketing strategy in this particular part of Asia? How will BAE Systems continue to enforce its presence here?

BAE Systems’ strategy in South East Asia is threefold. Firstly we are looking to work with local companies, either as joint-ventures or in partnership. BAE Systems has a strong record and recognised expertise in setting up partnerships and technology transfer and we are looking to continue and replicate that here in the region. Secondly it’s about upgrades. Many countries in the region have had our product in service for many years and are looking to upgrade it to the latest standard. We are working with our colleagues in the UK and US to see how best we can support those clients. Finally, it’s about offering new product and capability to the military in the region across land, sea, air and security.

What has BAE Systems proposed to the Royal Thai Armed Forces to improve their defence capabilities in terms of assets?

BAE Systems has an installed base of defence equipment in Thailand and is also the OEM for several key vehicles in service with the Royal Thai Armed Forces, including M109, L119 howitzers, M113s and AAVs. We stand ready to provide upgrades for these vehicles at the appropriate time.

Tell us a bit of detail on the Royal Thai Navy’s patrol vessel? Will there be options for more? What will be the next upgrades or improvement on the OPV?

BAE Systems provided the design for the latest OPVs – HTMS Krabi and HTMS Trang. The construction for these ships is handled by Bangkok Dock. Members of the BAE Systems Thailand team were honoured to attend the steel cutting ceremony of the second OPV at the Bangkok Dock facility earlier this year.

Is there any other country would/has BAE Systems proposed this OPV to?

The Royal Navy (RN) and Brazil have opted for the OPV. For the RN, the second of five River Class OPVs was named HMS Medway in a ceremony on the Clyde in Scotland in October.

In fact this is a busy time for our Naval Ships business where we have completed the first aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth; cut the first plate of steel for the first Type 26 Global Combat Ship; and completed the naming of the second aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales.  

Can you tell us some of BAE Systems products that are being marketed here in the SEA region?

A key focus for us at the moment is to respond to the Malaysian requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft, where we are offering Eurofighter Typhoon. In addition, there is a strong interest in our naval guns, M777 lightweight howitzer, Hawk and upgrades of armoured vehicles across the region. Cyber security, an important and growing part of our business, is also gaining a great deal of interest, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore. Whilst all these are important programmes for us, so much of our business is about supporting our equipment, developing capabilities and delivering integrated solutions to deliver the best possible value to our customers.

We recently cut steel on our Type 26 Global Combat Ship which will be a highly capable and versatile multi-mission warship designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defence and general purpose operations anywhere on the world’s oceans and will replace the UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. The programme is progressing as planned, with the first ships expected to be in service in the early 2020s.

Being here in Thailand’s Defense & Security exhibition, what is BAE Systems showcasing and what your thoughts on the show? 

BAE Systems is delighted to be exhibiting at Thailand’s Defense and Security exhibition where our focus is on the maritime and land sectors, particularly platforms including OPVs, the 99m Corvette and M777, as well as upgrades of product in service in the region.