Saab is hoping to break into the closed Japanese defense market, starting with its airborne electronic warfare (EW) products. Saab head of market area Asia-Pacific, Dean Rosenfield, said that the company is in the development phase and is in talks with the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) and related trading houses.
Rosenfield characterized the market as being closed, with most deals being handled through trading houses, and it usually favors the local industry. However, he added that Japan is starting to think about letting foreign companies in to provide their capabilities. “Japan is now wanting to build up its export capabilities,” he said, “especially since the SEA1000 submarine program for the Australian navy. That opened the door for them.”
Rosenfield said that there are opportunities in the electronic warfare segment, such as airborne jammers and ESM (electronic support measures) products. Saab’s portfolio includes the HES-21 ESM/ELINT pod, and the BOW and Arexis self-protection pods, among others.
“At this stage we are still in the development phase and we are educating and talking with the JSDF about our capabilities,” reported Rosenfield. “They are quite receptive. Saab has also provided demonstration facilities and is working with some Japanese companies. We have also carried out some trials in some undisclosed locations.“
He noted that Japan has a strong Aegis radar system user in the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and, in the future, the Air Self Defense Force, and that is where Saab could see some potential for its 9LV combat management system.