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Swedish arms make their way to Asia-Pacific

Sweden is increasing its position in defence export in the Southeast Asian region.

Defence contractor Saab Group opened a new office in the Philipines last month, and is reportedly in pole position to secure a deal to sell its JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Philippine Air Force.

In early November, a business delegation led by Sweden’s Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg coincided with the opening of the country’s new embassy in the capital Manila.

Now, Sweden and Indonesia have signed a memorandum of understanding to deepen their defense cooperation through, among others, technology transfers and joint research and development.

The MoU was signed by Indonesia`s Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu and Swedish Defense Minister Carl Anders Peter Hultqvist on Tuesday, Tempo.co reports.

"We have officially built the cooperation. In future, we will improve this cooperation," Ryamizard said.

Swedish Minister Hultqvist welcomed the signing of the agreement.

"Cooperation between Sweden and Indonesia has been established long before and the signing of the memorandum of understanding is a step forward to deepen the defense cooperation between the two countries," he said.

Saab is not new to fighters sales in Asia. In fact, it provided Thailand with 12 Gripen C/D fighters and is discussing with the Thai government a further order for this aircraft, which is the precursor of the brand-new Gripen-E platform, Asia Times said.

Bangkok has been Sweden’s second-largest defense client in the 2010-2015 stint, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

In Southeast Asia, Saab is also focusing on the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia as potential buyers of Gripen jets.

Among Nordic states, Sweden has the lion’s share in the transfer of arms and weapon systems to Indo-Pacific customers; it stood at some US$2.5 billion from 2000 to 2015, the fourth-largest amount throughout Europe.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 21 December 2016 08:03)


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