Singapore Air Show

Regional Opportunities Grow for Boeing Defense Products

 - February 16, 2022, 5:33 AM
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is replacing the P-3 Orion with the U.S. Navy. In the Asia-Pacific region it also flies with Australia and India, and has been ordered by New Zealand and South Korea. (Photo: David McIntosh)

Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDSS) is predicting defense opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region to reach around $70 billion over the next five years, a result of area-wide increases in defense investment to counter growing influences and meet rising political tensions. The company’s range of products and services is well-placed to capture a significant portion of that business in areas such as fighters and trainers, vertical lift and attack helicopters, mobility, surveillance, and autonomous systems.

A number of factors will drive expected opportunities but key elements include the need for increased maritime domain awareness by many of the region’s nations; a requirement to modernize and enhance forces through either the acquisition of newer types in greater numbers or by upgrading existing aircraft; and the need to provide effective disaster relief.

In the Asia-Pacific fighter marketplace BDSS reports significant interest in the F-15EX Eagle II, underlined recently by the U.S. State Department approval for a potential export of 36 of the F-15ID variant to Indonesia, but then other nations are also looking at it, the company’s senior director for business development in the region, Randy Rotte, said during a briefing at the Singapore Airshow. He noted that nations were no longer “looking for the cheapest,” but also taking into account interoperability and political alignment with other regional forces by asking themselves, “Who’s my friend?”

There is still a considerable process to complete before an Indonesian order for the F-15 becomes reality, and Rotte reported no significant activity following the July 2020 approval of a potential sale of eight Bell Boeing V-22 Ospreys to Indonesia. However, work on a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal to upgrade Korea’s F-15s continues and appears likely to be finalized. In the maritime patrol and surveillance sectors, the P-8 Poseidon and 737 AEW&C already fly in the APAC region, and further opportunities remain, although questions persist about the duration of their availability in their current form because they are based on the 737NG airliner, which is nearing the end of production for commercial customers.

Support and services is a large and growing sector, and BDSS predicts it will generate $210 billion in revenue over the next decade, with increasing numbers of customers signing for performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts. On Tuesday the company announced three five-year PBL deals with South Korea. One involved an extension of an existing agreement to support sustainment of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s F-15K Eagle, while the other two extended the benefits of PBL to the ROKAF 737 AEW&C and ROK Army CH-47 Chinook fleets.