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The global automatic weapons market size was valued at USD 8.09 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 8.62 billion in 2023 to USD 13.83 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period.
Automatic weapons are a combination of semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms. They fire continuously when their trigger is pulled hard or when ammunition is in the chamber. Automatic weapons have revolutionized military and defense operations due to their superior performance in critical missions.
Recent cross-border disputes between Turkey and Cyprus, India and Pakistan, and Russia and Ukraine have led to regional conflicts and an emphasis on advanced weapons. Due to war-like situations across regions, countries spend vast amounts on weapon development, thus fueling the growth of the automatic weapon industry.
Increasing Focus on Weapon Expenditure by Nations after COVID-19 to Propel Market Growth
The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 did not bring positive news to the growth of the market.
The COVID-19 outbreak also affected the market’s dynamics, such as drivers and restraints, and rising global competition followed by the global demand and supply chain mechanism.
Revenues that fell in the pandemic year 2020 began to rise gradually from 2022, the beginning of the forecast period. This development is due to the increased need for global markets to continue their activities to grow their operations. Global market opportunities and, as a consequence, meet the needs of target groups located in various global markets that make up the market. During the post-pandemic era, companies in global markets will likely choose to optimize their funnels and their strategy will continue to outperform their competitors.
Procurement of Military Weapons During Russia-Ukraine War to Boost Market Growth
According to an annual survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the U.S. remains the most significant exporter of conventional weapon systems. The country accounted for almost 40% of all the major arms exports between 2018 and 2022, up from 33% between 2013 and 2017, while Russia's share was 16%, according to the report. The report focuses on five-year comparisons and uses its metrics to standardize the values of weapons systems.
Continuing the trend in previous reports, European arms imports increased by 47%, while world trade decreased by approximately 5%. Considering the many obligations of the U.S. and European countries to complete the arms supplies to Ukraine, it is likely that imports to Europe will increase even more.
For instance, in April 2023, members of the European Union pledged USD 1.1 billion for joint procurement of defense products. The new agreement provides for joint procurement of defense equipment by at least three member states. The aim is to cover short-term needs, replenish the European defense stockpile, and expand it if necessary.
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Introduction of Technologically Advanced Polymers for Making Weapons to Drive Market Growth
Advances in technology have led the firearms industry to create weapons that are more affordable and accurate than ever before. In addition to being correctly manufactured as a primary function, they are lighter, foldable, and modular. Though they've been in the works for years, all of these changes are being developed through fine-tuning processes that are constantly improving. For example, with modern technology, new polymer composite tests are used to investigate how to make a gun lighter, stronger, reduce recoil, and withstand a wider range of temperatures.
For instance, in January 2022, Swedish defense contractor Saab announced that it had received an order to supply the Indian Army with single-engine AT4 anti-tank weapons. The company won a contract to develop lightweight, disposable weapons.
Polymers can bind various ceramics and nanoparticles that enable these properties. Advancements in the field have helped researchers find ways to add continuous fibers that can disperse the impact of a round through the weapon instead of the shooter's hand. As the durability of polymers is more robust, the industry is looking for unique ways to make a weapon out of plastic. If until now barrels were considered metal, the situation may change soon. Pressure and heat-resistant polymers are tested daily and will soon be available on the market.
Increase in Number of Cross-Border Conflicts is Driving Market Growth
The rise of the global market is due to the growing internal conflicts among various countries around the world. Governments are investing increasingly in national defense to strengthen their military power and increase their focus on close combat circumstances. They also need to ensure the safety of military personnel, creating substantial growth opportunities for various automatic type of weapons.
The utility of automatic weapons has increased in recent years due to the production of sophisticated weapons. In addition, trends related to the modernization of defense equipment in major developing countries are another critical factor driving the demand for automatic type of weapons, thus boosting the market growth. Moreover, the need for precision weapon systems increased the focus on advanced weapons, thereby contributing considerably to the market's growth to combat the increasing incidents of terrorism.
Fast Advances in Weapons Technology Are Driving Market Growth
The rapid development of fully automatic weapon systems is expected to positively influence the automatic weapons market growth in the coming years. Features, such as a heavy barrel to prevent overheating during continuous training, a bipod, and the ability to carry more ammunition will drive the market growth during the forecast period. In addition, high-tech light automatic weapons and the introduction of intelligent weapons with innovative features, such as biometric reading and RFID sensors to prevent accidents and misuse of military weapons are driving the market growth.
For instance, in February 2022, France and Britain signed contracts with MBDA to develop next-generation cruise and anti-ship missiles, which are expected to be operational by 2030, the European missile maker said in a statement. Industry officials said the long-awaited agreement on risk mitigation was significant and supported a rare example of industry cooperation between France and the U.K.
A strong focus on soldier modernization by governments across the world for cross-border disputes, RDT&E investment, advancements of weapons, and periodic modernization of existing combat platforms are the factors that will drive the market growth. Additionally, the emergence of 3D and 4D printing technology, heavy investment in military budgets, and reduction in production costs are some factors that will fuel the market growth in the coming years.
High Initial Development Cost of Precision Firearms to Restrict Market Growth
The high cost of developing precision firearms is a prime factor hampering the market growth. Precision firearms comprise advanced fire control and heads-up display technology. Advanced fire control technology improves the operational efficiency of firearms at a long range to hit the target. The companies are involved in research and development activities to design and develop cost-effective firearms.
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High Demand for Automatic Rifles from Several Armed Forces to Propel Market Growth
Based on product, the market is segmented into automatic rifles, machine guns, automatic launchers, automatic cannons, and Gatling guns.
The automatic rifles segment held a dominant share of the market in 2022. The dominance is due to the increasing demand for fully automatic rifles from several armed forces, specifically from Asian countries. For instance, in December 2021, The machine gun segment is projected to register a higher CAGR during 2023-2030 due to the increasing use of machine guns by naval and border security forces during battlefield operations. Replacing conventional machine guns with light machine guns will fuel segment’s growth.
The automatic launcher segment is further classified into grenades, missiles, and mortars. The surging demand for an integrated 40mm automatic grenade launcher system from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) force is projected to boost the market expansion. Moreover, rising spending from the U.S. and Russia to upgrade long-range weapons, such as missile launchers and short-range attack weapons, such as mortar launchers is anticipated to drive the market growth. The increasing demand for lightweight automatic cannons and growing application of Gatling guns in combat aircraft and warships are expected to boost the market growth.
Increasing Demand for Semi-Automatic Weapons from Ukraine, India, Pakistan, and Syria to Boost Market Growth
Based on type, the market is bifurcated into fully automatic and semi-automatic.
The semi-automatic segment is expected to hold the largest share of the market during the forecast period. The segment’s dominance is due to the increasing demand for semi-automatic weapon systems from Ukraine, India, Pakistan, and Syria to control regional tensions.
The fully automatic segment is projected to register a higher CAGR during the forecast period. This growth is accredited to the ease of accessibility of fully automatic weapons during battlefield operations.
For instance, the U.S. Army has signed a 10-year, fixed-price, repeat-production contract to manufacture and supply two squad weapons, the XM5 rifle and XM250 automatic rifle, as well as the 6.8 Common Patrone family of ammunition.
Growing Usage of Small Caliber in Assaults Rifles Expected to Fuel Market Growth
Based on caliber, the market is segmented into small caliber, medium caliber, and large caliber.
The small caliber segment is expected to have a leading share in the market during the forecast period. The segment’s dominance is due to the enhanced performance, penetration range, and lethality of small-caliber assault rifles during battlefield operations. Small calibers are used in Adcor A-556, Barrett REC7, and Colt CM901 assault rifles.
The medium caliber segment is anticipated to showcase a significant CAGR during the forecast period. The segment’s growth is attributed to medium caliber’s multipurpose ammunition with tracer capabilities. The medium caliber is classified as 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 40mm, and others. These calibers are majorly used in the Anzio rifle, M82 rifle, MK 108 assault rifle, and others.
The large caliber segment may exhibit significant growth during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to innovations in large-caliber machine guns to increase the range and accuracy of large-caliber weapon systems.
Land Segment To Dominate Due to Increasing Usage of Battle Tanks, LPVs, and APVs
Based on end-user, the market is segmented into land, naval, airborne, and handheld & stationery. The land segment is classified as battle tanks, Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), and Light-Protected Vehicles (LPVs). The land segment is anticipated to have a dominant automatic weapons market share during the forecast period. This dominance is due to the increasing use of battle tanks, AFVs, and LPVs in combat operations. The naval segment is classified as destroyers, frigates, corvettes, and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVS). The increasing demand for precision weapon systems on the naval platform from developed economies, such as the U.S. and the U.K. will propel the market growth.
The airborne segment is anticipated to project a significant CAGR during the forecast period. The segment’s growth is attributed to the increasing replacement of conventional systems with advanced combat systems in fighter aircraft, combat support aircraft, and helicopters. The handheld & stationary segment will likely exhibit significant growth during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for handheld & stationary weapons from the Middle Eastern countries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to upgrade their defense capabilities.
North America Automatic Weapons Market Size, 2022 (USD billion)
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The market size in North America stood at USD 3.04 billion in 2022. North America's share in the global market is anticipated to be the largest during the forecast period. This is owing to the presence of key players in the U.S., which includes General Dynamics Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC. The U.S. government is focusing on strengthening its automated weapons, battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles, and light-protected vehicles.
The market in Europe is projected to show significant growth during the forecast period owing to the presence of and emphasis on investment by key market players in the region, such as BAE Systems, FN Herstal, Kalashnikov Concern, and KBP Instrument Design Bureau. As per a SIPRI report (2022), Russia ranked second in the world's arms export.
Asia Pacific's market is expected to exhibit healthy growth due to China and India's expanding arms & ammunition industry. In addition, key market players in Asia-Pacific, such as China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) and Ordinance Factory Board (India) are increasing their funding, propelling the regional market growth.
In the Middle East, the rising demand for automatic launchers, automatic cannons, and self-attacking drone systems from Saudi Arabia and Turkey is propelling the regional market growth. The Rest of the World segment will register extraordinary growth during the forecast period. This growth is credited to increased spending on automatic rifles, machine guns, and automatic launchers from Latin America and Africa.
Key Players Are Introducing Innovations in Automated Weapons to Drive Market Growth
The design of the modular advanced armed robot system, laser weapon system, Personnel Interception and Stimulus-Response Rifle (PHASR), and XM25 Anti-defilade Target Counter are the future market trends. A diverse product portfolio, coupled with high-tech trends and research ideology embraced by key players, is critical to boosting the market’s growth.
An Infographic Representation of Automatic Weapons Market
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The industry research report provides a structured market analysis. It mainly focuses on critical aspects, such as significant top-impacting factors, market scenario analysis, trends, drivers, impact analysis, types, caliber, and leading technological trends. In addition, the report offers an overview of the market growth and trends, and highlights key developments in the industry. It also introduces several factors that have influenced the growth of the market in recent years.
Value (USD billion)
By End Use
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market size was valued at USD 8.09 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 13.83 billion by 2030.
In 2022, the North America market stood at USD 3.04 billion.
Registering a CAGR of 7%, the market will display steady growth during the forecast period of 2023 to 2030.
The fully automatic rifles segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The rising incidents of cross-border conflicts across the globe are factors propelling the market growth.
General Dynamics Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC., Kalashnikov Concern, and KBP Instrument Design Bureau are significant players in the global market.
North America dominated the market share in 2022.
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