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Asia: The Crucial Regional Market for Armoured Vehicles

Contributor:  Calum Jeffray, Armoured Vehicles Team, Defence IQ 

For both Western and Asian armoured vehicle companies, reminders of the strategic importance of the Asian market for long term growth can frequently be found in daily news stories.

Just last week, an online Turkish news publication was reporting on the expanding international sales of the country’s defence industry, into regions further afield than their more traditional markets in the Middle East:

“We are happy to see these companies now chasing deals in parts of the Far East they have not yet sold their products to, and there are initial signs of penetration into difficult markets like the US. All of that is very encouraging,” a senior procurement official with a portfolio to support Turkish arms exports said, on condition of anonymity.

Turkey's FNSS Pars 8x8 Armoured Vehicle

This follows two recent announcements from FNSS, a joint venture between BAE Systems andTurkey’s Nurol Holding. In February, FNSS signed a $600 million deal with Malaysia for the joint development and manufacturing of 257 8×8 Pars amphibious armoured vehicles, whilst, last month, FNSS declared that it would be supplying the Indonesian Armed Forces with 257 wheeled armoured vehicles.

The Malaysian and Indonesian markets currently seem to be the most active in terms of armoured vehicle procurement, and it has even emerged that they are looking to purchase from each other – the Jakarta Post last week revealed that the Malaysian military had expressed interest in acquiring Indonesian armored vehicles during a meeting between the new Malaysian chief, Gen. Dato’ Sri Zulkifeli Bin Mohd Zin, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“They didn’t specifically discuss weaponry, but touched on the issue of 6×6 armored vehicles. Malaysia wants to purchase them,” Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Admiral Agus Suhartono said after the meeting.

Listening to delegate feedback, it would seem that many western companies perhaps find it difficult to discern the different requirements of each separate Asian country – and where they are prioritising spending. However it would also appear that, as European militaries continue to face heavy budgetary restraints, large armoured vehicle primes and sub-contractors are more and more willing to overcome the geographic distance and increase their efforts to penetrate and increase their presence in the Far East.

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