What is the scope of BAE Systems’ operations in Asia?
BROSNAN: Our focus here in Asia is very much on Malaysia. Malaysia is our regional hub for Southeast Asia. We used to have our hub in Singapore, but we recently moved it here to Kuala Lumpur. This reflects the amount of business we see potential for in Kuala Lumpur. However, we are not new to Malaysia. We have been here for in excess of 20 years. We have nearly 50 people based in Malaysia, and we are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Malaysian Armed Forces. BAE Systems has more equipment in service with the armed forces here than any other foreign supplier. We are looking to build on solid foundations to expand, and the Eurofighter Typhoon is our main focus at the moment.
How much of BAE System’s business does Asia account for?
BROSNAN: Historically Malaysia, in particular, has been a very good market for BAE Systems. There is more equipment with the Malaysian Armed Forces provided by BAE Systems than any other single foreign supplier. We are well established here, but we do see a lot of potential for growth. Malaysia is the focus, but we are also looking across Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Indonesia and other places throughout the region.
BAE Systems and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MiGHT) just signed a memorandum of understanding as part of the efforts to reinforce industrial cooperation between Malaysia and the UK. What makes Malaysia an attractive destination for such an agreement?
BROSNAN: We are really excited about the agreement we have just signed with MiGHT. It has two components to it. First of all, there is a general desire to identify new technologies both in the UK and here in Malaysia. Also, to work together with Malaysian companies to try and develop and commercialize them. That is the overall aim, but within that we have identified a couple of specific opportunities to look at programs to start making progress on immediately. We do not have to wait to identify future technologies. We can start now, so that is our aim. The way we are going to do this is to, with support from MiGHT, is identify innovative, creative and agile Malaysian SMEs, in particular, that we think we can work with. We are very excited about that possibility.
Where do you see the biggest potential for growth?
BROSNAN: At the moment there is a big focus on the Malaysian Air Force’s multirole combat aircraft requirements, and we believe we have the best product for that with the Eurofighter Typhoon. I also believe a key component is the economic benefits that will come to Malaysia together with the aircraft. We not only think we have the best product with the Eurofighter Typhoon but also the best industrial package. We are working hard to find companies here in Malaysia who we can work with in terms of the Typhoon, other products that our company makes, and other products that our partners across Europe make.
What are your growth and development plans in Asia-Pacific? Where do you see this figure heading moving forward?
BROSNAN: Our focus is really on Malaysia. The reason for this being that Malaysia’s own ambitious growth plans, articulated in Vision 2020 and The Economic Transformation Plan, leads to a vision of strong GDP growth, appetite for foreign investment, and development of a defense industrial base. We think there is a real scope in Malaysia for companies like BAE Systems to work with innovative Malaysian defense and aerospace companies. We have technology that we can bring to Malaysia and help create high technology jobs skills transfer and education programs. One of the things we announced here during Prime Minister Cameron’s visit is our sponsorship of Chevening Scholarships, where we are doubling the number of students who can study post-graduate courses in the UK for future leaders of Malaysia.
Our focus is really on Malaysia. The reason for this being that Malaysia’s own ambitious growth plans, articulated in Vision 2020 and The Economic Transformation Plan, leads to a vision of strong GDP growth, appetite for foreign investment, and development of a defense industrial base.
What geographic markets are you targeting with the Eurofighter Typhoon?
BROSNAN: The Typhoon is already a well-established aircraft. It is in service with six air forces. There are around 700 aircrafts on order and around 300 already in service. It has seen active service in a number of different parts of the world. We think Malaysia is the focus here in Southeast Asia, but there are a number of other countries, in particular, the Middle East, who a strong interest in Typhoon. We see it as a world beating product which we expect to see in service in many different air forces over the next decade or two.
What sets the Eurofighter Typhoon apart from its counterparts?
BROSNAN: The Typhoon is the world leading multirole combat aircraft. It is also a pilot’s aircraft. If you talk to people who fly this aircraft, when they get out of it they cannot be more excited. It has the best capability in the world, and as a company, we’re supporting that with the best industrial package.