Dubai: The crisis in Western economies and increased spending capabilities of emerging markets is seeing Boeing Inter Defence Systems (IDS) targeting a growing international market. This week’s Dubai Air Show brings government spenders from around the world to critique products.
Currently, IDS sell 15 per cent of their defence products to international customers, with the rest being bought by the US government. Dennis Muilenburg, President and CEO of Boeing IDS, is hoping this figure will rise.
“We are continuing to see growing international demand for our products,” said Muilenburg. “It is one of the fastest growing segments and we expect our international business overall to go from being about 15 per cent of our business this year to 20 or 25 per cent of our business next year.”
Whereas defence spending has come under intense scrutiny in a recessionary US, Muilenburg says countries from the Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Middle East, India and Brazil are all showing interest in buying. Products such as the C17 plane and Chinook helicopters are proving most popular he added.
“Really we see broad based growth around the globe right now,” he said “A lot of our customers right now are at a point where they need to refresh their forces. We see that trend around the globe right now.”
The trends will not be lost on Boeing’s competitors, admits Muilenburg, but they are hoping a two pronged approach will help them win over regions.
Boeing IDS have cut the ‘up front’ costs of their products in the manufacturing facilities through efficiency drives in factories and on engineering techniques. However, maintaining a lasting presence in regions such as the Middle East will be key, he said.
The company is focusing much of its efforts at the Air Show to developing partnerships with its customers in the region, ranging from business support to technical training. Muilenburg pointed to last year’s Al Salam deal in Saudi Arabia as an example. The Al Salam Aircraft Company, a Saudi government-affiliated firm, partnered with Boeing IDS to maintain and repair a fleet of C 130 aircraft for the Royal Saudi Air Force.
“We expect to do more of those,” he said. “Stay tuned for the rest of the week.”