ASEAN aerospace gets global & national level push; Boeing & Rolls Royce spur know-how

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Local press in Thailand and Malaysia reports two of the globe’s leading aerospace firms, Rolls Royce and Boeing are active in developing the aerospace industry in the ASEAN region, where several countries have an aerospace industry development road map.

And many local firms have responded with development of cutting edge aerospace technology. Dotted across the ASEAN region, are firms engaging in the manufacturing of parts for leading global aerospace firms.

For Boeing, the supply of parts, assemblies and services for Boeing products has created valuable new economic opportunities in Southeast Asia since 2009, when Boeing suppliers have established aerospace manufacturing centers for commercial aircraft production in five Southeast Asia countries: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

  • AIN Online says:

In a pre-Singapore Airshow interview, Boeing Asia president Skip Boyce shared with AIN a sort of bird’s-eye perspective on a region whose industrial base has grown to include no fewer than 50 suppliers to the Boeing Company.

Boyce divides the region into three “tiers” or categories of technological capability and experience, the first residing in Australia, particularly in the military realm.

In the second category Boyce placed Singapore and Malaysia, which he described a “relatively advanced” economies compared with the rest of the region and where Boeing maintains ties with companies such as Spirit Malaysia, which last November announced would assemble the fixed leading edge for the 787 Dreamliner.

Finally, some of what Boyce characterized as “third-tier” countries, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, have proved the most interesting in terms of their growing levels of economic activity and their appetite for more business. “We have either successful sales or very important campaigns in all the countries I just mentioned,” said Boyce.

  • However, it is not just Boeing.

For Rolls Royce, currently, three companies in Thailand supply parts to the firm. Local Thai press, reports Ewen McDonald, managing director of Rolls-Royce (Thailand) Co. said Thailand has solid infrastructure for this industry, including a strong industrial foundation, good airports and skilled labour, in the firm’s view. The company has worked continuously with the government and private sectors to support the development of the aerospace industrial roadmap for the nation.

  • ASEAN Interest in Aerospace:

If one were to trace ASEAN‘s drive into the aerospace industry, no doubt, the leader was Indonesia-in that about 15 years ago, Indonesia began assembling aircraft, and in fact, Indonesia sold Thailand’s military, a number of planes. And off course, in ASEAN, Singapore has long been the established hub for repair, such as for Bell helicopters, and others.

Thailand’s push into the aerospace industry started when was Thaksin was Thailand’s prime minister. Thaksin, who pushed for local development of rocket and missiles technology, also the establish a Thai company in the aerospace area, that focused on “Installing” cutting edge high-tech military electronics technology, to the local stack of military equipment, once up-grade became necessary.

The following is from Malaysia’s Bernama:

Boeing, Malaysia to benefit from spin-offs

KUALA LUMPUR:Boeing’s continuing partnership with Malaysia will have substantial spin-offs in the transformation of the domestic economy, particularly in the aerospace sector, if the government opts for the Super Hornet, as the choice for its multi-role combat aircraft.

Among other things, benefits would come via increased industrial

participation and transfer of specialised aerospace technology from Boeing itself and its other partners, Michael K. Gibbons, the Vice-President of F/A-18 & EA Programs for Boeing Military Aircraft, told Bernama in an interview.

Boeing has a strong presence jointly with Malaysian firms producing composite materials for aircraft parts.

Gibbons also said there would be economic benefits in areas such as employment opportunities, increased aerospace-related projects, as well as training of local aerospace and defence personnel.

This includes training Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) pilots to fly the Super Hornets, which he said would be an easy transition, given their long experience in flying the current Hornets.

“It is fortunate that Malaysia has the kind of industry that we find easy to partner with,” he added.

Partners which Boeing works closely with in the Super Hornet programme include Northrop Grumman, the defence technology company, Raytheon, an innovation leader in avionics, defence and homeland security, as well as multinational company General Electric, which powers the Super Hornet engines.

Gibbons said Malaysia’s relations with the United States would also be further improved with increased trade and economic linkages and military cooperation.

Even during an economic downturn, the acquisition of the Super Hornets would be helpful in transferring specialised aerospace-related defence technology to Malaysia through its partners.

Gibbons has been in Malaysia over the past few days in conjunction with the maiden call of the USS George Washington — the nuclear-powered super aircraft carrier — to the country and which showcased almost 50 Super Hornets on its flight deck.

The US Navy is also the primary customer of the Super Hornets while Australia recently acquired 24 of the aircraft.

During the visit to the aircraft carrier at Port Klang, Gibbons said he managed to meet top defence officials, with many able to view first hand the Super Hornets on the vessel.

Malaysia had proposed in 2002 to buy 18 Super Hornets with the government still considering the matter, while several other global military aircraft firms are also vying to supply their own aircraft.

“The Super Hornets are a good value proposition based on its capabilities, affordability, availability and easy operability,” he said.

Besides the Boeing F/A-16E/F Super Hornet, the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Sukhoi Su-30/35 are also competing to supply multi-role combat aircraft to Malaysia.

“We believe that Boeing’s industrial participation in the Malaysian economy is very crucial in the overall package. We have the superior product and obviously in a great position to provide a great offset package,” Gibbons said. — BERNAMA

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