Mark Ballew Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Boeing is expecting a healthy market over the next ten years in this region, according to a senior official from the company who spoke to the media on Monday during IDEX, with estimates of $96.3 billion (Dh353.71 billion) in defence services expected during that time period.

The positive outlook for the company’s future was provided by Mark Ballew, director of sales and marketing for International Government Services, Boeing Global Services, who attributed geopolitical tensions along with service maintenance on already purchased equipment as some of the key factors.

“We’ve had a presence in this region for the last 74 years, and we’re going to continue to have a presence in this region because it’s important to worldwide stability and worldwide defence,” Ballew said.

“In the UAE alone we’ve had a presence here for 20 years … [and] so I think from what Boeing has demonstrated in this region — working with Mubadala and a lot of other companies [as well as being involved in] a lot of the education process, [we are] making sure that we do have a real presence here,” he added.

Ballew said that Boeing’s business in the region was currently growing with several of its main customers looking to increase their portfolio with the company.

“We have a lot of our customers that are asking for either extensions of existing support programmes or continuations. We do [also] have some ongoing sales opportunities for the [Boeing] platforms.

“We’re having a lot of conversations with the customers in the region for support and sustainment — how are we going to go through and do the training, how are we going to maintain [equipment] parts. So I will tell you [business] is not going down and not staying flat,” he added.

“[Geopolitical tensions is] a factor that’s increasing and driving some of that demand, there is also increased training, increased numbers of [Boeing] platforms in the region as we continue to deliver. As these countries get additional aircraft that’s going to increase the need for support,” he said.

Newest additions

Ballew also spoke on some of Boeing’s latest additions such as its KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker and its T-X Advanced Pilot Training System.

“We’re going to build 179 [aerial] tankers — they’re going to be able to transload nearly 212,000 pounds (96,961kg) of fuel at a time [and also] have a multi role where you can put passengers inside [the aircraft] and also do medical evacuations,” he explained, highlighting how the refuelling aircraft would be able to serve in different types of missions.

Ballew also said that Boeing was going beyond developing aircraft with the development of its Compact Laser Weapons System, which is aimed at combating threats from unmanned drones.

“To keep up with today’s evolving and fast rising threats, there is a need for every military to acquire new defences and we’re seeing significant demand right now, especially for counter unmanned aerial systems-missions,” he said.

“This can also be done beyond the military side if you’re looking at supporting airports and different type of logistic sites and facilities,” he added.