14 May 2015
GROWING defence budgets have underwritten a sizeable arms build-up in South-east Asia since around the turn of the century. Regional navies have particularly benefited from this increase in military expenditures. As a result, many South-east Asian navies are in the process of transforming themselves from modest forces oriented mainly towards coastal defence to modern fleets capable of projecting considerable firepower into local “green waters”.
As IMDEX Asia approaches, it would be appropriate to reflect upon the impact of rising defence budgets and their impact on regional naval modernisation. The maritime defence event takes place in Singapore next week.
In general, South-east Asian navies are experiencing growth in three broad areas. In the first place, many have acquired, or are in the process of acquiring, largish surface combatants. In the past, most regional navies consisted mainly of coastal patrol boats and fast-attack craft, geared mostly towards littoral combat. Today, however, many of these forces are being outfitted with larger, longer-range warships, usually of the corvette or frigate class.
… The writer is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/11/2015