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Loitering Munition System Market Size, Share & Russia/Ukraine War Impact Analysis, By Type (Autonomous Identification and Positioning Loitering Munition System, and Manual Positioning Loitering Munition System), By Application (Navy Force, Land Force, and Air Force), and Regional Forecast, 2023–2030

Last Updated: June 03, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI107013



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The global loitering munition system market size was valued at USD 1.03 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 1.20 billion in 2023 to USD 3.04 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 14.2% during the forecast period.


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Loitering munition, or remotely controlled aerial precision strike weapons combining the efficiency of unmanned aircraft systems and guided missiles. Such systems provide frontline armies with an enhanced intelligence-gathering capacity that includes tackling border tensions and acquiring targets and a more comprehensive range of gunfire, which is possible only through complex coordination among various units and echelons.

Loitering munitions offer high-precision strike capability, minimizes the risk of collateral damage, and provides an essential tactical advantage for operationally proven applications. Furthermore, the loitering munitions are suitable for national and allied defense, low-intensity conflicts, or peace stability operations, and versatility and swiftness of operation can be obtained from them.

Russia/Ukraine War Impact

Increased Demand for Suicide Drones due to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine propelled the Market Growth

The war between Russia and Ukraine is increasing the defense spending by NATO countries and strengthening their military forces. Russia's invasion has led to increased spending on defense by most European countries. In addition, Germany increased its defense budget by 2% of GDP to 109 billion USD in 2021, compared with the total Defense Budget for that year. For instance, in April 2022, AeroVironment stated that it is expected to facilitate over 100 Quantix Recon UAS and related training services for the Ukraine Defense Ministry and Armed Forces. In each battlefield scenario, these systems are expected to speed up the pace of surveillance and precise delivery. For instance, in November 2022, Russia used Shahed-136 kamikaze drones against the Ukrainian artillery, tanks, and air defense that Iran supplied. Further, Russia is deploying significant numbers of smaller and more reliable, accurate loitering munition Lancent-3.

Moreover, European countries such as Poland and Denmark announced an increase in the defense budget for safety. The Polish Defense Minister announced in March 2022 that Warsaw would buy three new Mine Countermeasure Vessels, MCMVs, to strengthen its naval capacity in the Baltic Sea. In addition, 140 combat and supply ships, over 50 aircraft for exercises, and 1,000 pieces of military equipment were deployed by Russia on 22 January 2022. Furthermore, NATO deployed over 100 jets and 120 allied boats to the Mediterranean region.


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High Adoption Rate of New and Multiple Advance Technologies in Loitering Munitions to Drive the Market Growth over the Forecast Period

The suicide drone business will also benefit from better modularity, the expansion of AIAI capabilities, and increasing swarm technologies and sensor capacity over the coming years. The growing use of unmanned systems as a result of their low cost will have a significant impact on the market. In addition, the prices of associated components are driven down by the extensive use of modern technology and an increasing number of unmanned systems.

Listed Below are the Critical Technology Trends that are positively impacting the system 

Swarm Technology - Some loitering weapons, like Kronshtadt's Molniya, can act in swarms. Swarm technology enables munitions to perform a broader range of tasks and  sometimes replace alternative options. Unit costs are driven up by the ability to work in a swarm. However, this operation is applicable in cases where alternative options are often costlier than swarms and if an expensive unmanned system poses a greater risk of failure. For instance, in June 2023, U.S. Marine Corps developed and began experimenting with loitering swarming munitions to tackle and attack helicopters and will provide future service operations in the Indo-Pacific.

Artificial Intelligence - AI is an essential complement that will help the system to become independent and intelligent. An artificial intelligence (AI) created for the system can identify targets and determine attack profiles. It is primarily for large-scale deployment of swarm technology that AI needs to be developed.

Mission Modules - It is important that modularity allows the mission module to be modified on various missions. This allows for greater flexibility and reduces operating costs as long as loitering of ammunition and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISR functions can be conducted before the munition has a warhead. Before being a kamikaze drone, it is necessary to return and replenish the cost of operating in various capacities. A refillable system, designed only for one user, is more expensive.


Increasing Demand for Loitering Munition System in Forces of Special Operations is boosting the Market Growth

The potential for a rapid response after the detection of a target, in particular those that remain in the field of fire for a short period as a moving command vehicle or an antiaircraft missile launcher, is one of the benefits of the loitering munition. To detect targets, Kamikaze drone equipment can be utilized without exposing priceless people-operated platforms, such as attack helicopters. These systems are used against the target without human casualties thus, increase demand and propel market growth.

In addition to SEAD missions, homing ammunition is now used for other purposes. Loitering ammunition is underway as direct sustenance carried "in the backpack" by light infantry and special operations forces (SOF) troops. The presence of autonomous rocket will stay above ground for some time to find a target and strike as proposed by external sources such as the other unmanned platforms and Special Operation Force soldiers. Other names for this ammunition include suicide drones and kamikaze drones.

For instance, in defense objectives in its operations, Israel's UVISION Company will provide Italy's Special Forces with Hero -30 Loitering Ammunition. The defense services have stated that it is necessary to provide Tier 1 Special Forces deployed in active situations with tools to defend themselves if they encounter an enemy threat that carries a certain risk of injury.

Capability of Kamikaze Drones in a Wide Range of Operations for Units and Forces Propels the Market Growth

The current battlefield should use precision ammunition systems as they can detect and intercept temporally relevant threats and manage or recall them in case of a final strike. These requirements can meet the need for loitering ammunition, stimulating growth in the loitering munition market.

Loitering munition plays a vital role in modern warfare with ultimate operational flexibility. This system brings a very accurate munition system to the fighting force, including an autonomous fire capability and quality intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The leading armies worldwide focus on acquiring advanced warfare equipment to detect, occupy and track a time-sensitive low-signature enemy target at an extended range without external interference to maintain their dominance.

There is extraordinary reliability in arms systems, including inland forces and loitering munitions. It is incredibly lightweight and man-pack portable, can be taken into the heart of the battle, and deployed within minutes with the help of different launch systems. The market is expected to be stimulated by increased security measures and the development of new technologies for guarding activities.

For instance, Rheinmetall and UVision made a loitering munition called the HERO series. The HERO loitering munition loiters above the operational area, identifies and tracks the enemy, investigates potential targets to help select the most important ones, determines the correct timing and angle of attack, and acts in real-time as accurate strikes. The HERO series can provide individual operating solutions to the different dimensions of sea and land forces. HERO is suitable for a broad spectrum of missions and has already deployed and proven a record in leading fighting forces, including dominant NATO countries.


Increased Deployment of Antiballistic Missile and Drone Systems Could Hamper Market Dynamics 

Anti-drone systems work as drone detection, neutralizing the threat through jamming the drone communication and tracking on passive surveillance. These systems quickly identify incoming drones and provide actionable information to protect against them. Hence, market growth is hampering due to the increased adoption of these systems.

Antiballistic missiles are surface-to-air missiles designed to counter missile defense. Including this system in intercepting and destroying ballistic threats harms market growth.

For instance, South Holland’s company, Robin Radar System, has made a radar system for drone detection and tracking called IRIS. This system has been specially developed to locate tiny drones and unmanned aerial vehicles with multiple functions, such as a 360-degree or broad altitude range of 60 degrees. In addition, it provides for early alert of approaching drones in all directions so that they have sufficient time to react.


By Type Analysis

Robust Demand to Drive Autonomous Identification and Positioning Loitering Munition System Segment at Highest CAGR

Based on type, this market is classified into autonomous identification and positioning loitering munition systems, and manual positioning loitering munition systems.

The autonomous identification and positioning loitering system is the fastest-growing during the forecast period due to the increasing demand across allied forces. For instance, in September 2022, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) developed indigenous autonomous and identification loitering munition. The loitering system can operate in rugged terrain and mountainous areas. During the tests conducted at Pokhran, the army proved its ability to strike.

The manual positioning system holds a significant share. Factors such as increasing adoption of AI, automated selection targets, precision strike control technologies in the system, and autonomous identification could spur the demand for the product.

By Application Analysis

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Land Force Segment to Record Fastest Growth Owing to Wide Use of Loitering Systems in Critical Land Force Applications

Based on application, the market is catalyzed into the navy force, land force, and air force.

The land force segment is the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period and held the highest market share of 50.34% in the year 2022 in the loitering munition system market growth. Using loitering ammunition in the land forces is highly reliable and conventional. Loitering weapons are relatively easy to manufacture and specifically adapted for use with land forces in heavy conditions. The demand for the segment is further stimulated by its reduced weight, which makes it easier to carry around during a battle. For instance, in April 2023, a contract from the U.S. Army for Switchblade 300 loitering systems was awarded to American drone manufacturer AeroVironment. The weapons manufactured under this contract shall be consigned to France's military. The total value of the agreement was USD 64.5 million, and the U.S. Army has not disclosed the quantity of the loitering System.

The air force segment is the second fastest-growing segment during the forecast period. The increasing adoption of loitering munitions systems in aircraft, as they are seamlessly integrated into the plane, allows the aircrew to operate the munition using standard controls. For instance, in May 2023, the Indian Air Force received its first indigenously designed and developed loitering system from Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL). They can operate from a broad range of terrains and high-altitude areas, allowing them to destroy targets that can be more than 50 km long without risking the safety of personnel. In the Navy force, suicide drones give new and unique operational solutions to the different operations of the naval forces.


North America Loitering Munition System Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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The market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, Africa, and Latin America.

North America holds the highest loitering munition system market share in 2022. The growing research, development, and application of loitering munition in various battlefield situations. Due to the Remote Operator requirement to reduce incorrect hits, manual positioning is the preferred system for locating munitions. For instance, in September 2021, The United States Special Operations Command, USSOCOM, awarded AeroVironment Inc. a firm fixed price contract of USD 20.3 million for the supply of the Switchblade 600 Tactical Missile System, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2023. This will allow for operative flexibility from fixed and mobile platforms at sea, on land, and in the air.

Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing region during the forecast period. The countries like India, China, Japan, and so on are heavily increasing suicide drone projects. In addition, the regional market is expected to be stimulated by the high demand for manual positioning systems, and many countries have signed contracts to resolve border tensions and reduce operational costs. For instance, in September 2021, the Indian Army awarded a USD 13.7 million contract to a joint venture between Israel's Elbit Systems and a local company, Alpha Design Technologies Ltd, to deliver 100 SkyStriker loitering systems.

The market in Europe is expected to grow constantly over the forecast period. The most important part of the type category was represented by a manual position system. Manual positioning system has been in increasing demand in the European armed forces, such as the French Armed Forces, the Royal Army, and the Polish Army, owing to the high-risk reduction of erroneous strikes. Conflicts on the borders increased demand, given the high risk of terror attacks loitering munition systems in the region.

The application segment of land forces is expected to lead in the Middle East & Africa over the forecast period. The regional growth in the forecast period is foreseen to be driven by increased exports of automatic defense systems. For instance, in 2021, Turkey first exported the rotary-wing Kargu loitering munition, produced by STM, to an undisclosed country. Further, the market for loitering munition in Latin America is projected to grow steadily over the forecast period. The rising defense expenditure and research, development, testing, and evaluation of loitering munition are anticipating market growth.


Companies Focus on Mergers & Acquisitions and Partnerships to Gain Competitive Edge

Various regional and international players consistently develop advanced strategies for competitive advantage. Key companies in the market focus on business expansion through new contracts, adoption of the latest technology, and mergers & acquisitions to enable market growth. For instance, in April 2021, Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, LLC completed the acquisition of Sparton Corporation ("Sparton") from an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for a worth valuation of USD 380 million. This will facilitate the growth of the U.S. market and help expand the business in neighboring countries.

Some of the Key Companies Profiled in the Report:


  • May 2023 -   The first indigenously designed and developed loitering munitions have been delivered to the Indian Air Force by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. The weapon has a distinct vertical takeoff and landing VTOL technology, capable of operating in all terrains, including higher altitude areas, of taking down targets over 50 km. The weapon has autonomy and precision, so it can strike precisely but minimizes the risks for personnel.

  • May 2023 - With the acquisition of Long-range Loitering Missiles, Estonia has enhanced its defense capability to reinforce its indirect fire capabilities. The first deliveries of long-range loitering munitions are expected to be made in 2024, with the necessary training to be provided to the defense forces before their deployment.

  • April 2023 - Ministry of Defense, Government of India awarded a contract to Solar Industries India’s wholly owned Economic Explosives subsidiary for the loitering munition supply. It's the first Loitering munition to be manufactured by a company in India. In developing products in the future, it highlights our capacity to take advantage of new technologies and be flexible. The contract is to be completed in one year and has a value of USD 2020 million.

  • April 2023 - The American Military’s Tactical Aviation and Ground Munitions Project Office provided AeroVironment with additional funding of USD 64.7 million to procure Switchblade 300 Low Loitering Missile Systems. The U.S. Army's Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, will manage this contract, and the equipment is to be delivered by July 2024.

  • February 2023 - EDGE Group entity, HALCON, a regional leader in the design and production of guided weapons systems and beyond, has signed a deal worth AED USD 299 million to deliver HUNTER 2-S (swarming), HUNTER 5, and HUNTER 10 loitering munitions to the UAE Armed Forces. HALCON’s HUNTER family of fixed-wing loitering munitions are designed for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and aerial strike missions.


An Infographic Representation of Loitering Munition System Market

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The report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product/service types, and leading applications of the product. Besides, the report offers insights into the loitering munition system market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.




Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 14.2% from 2023 to 2030


Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Autonomous Identification and Positioning Loitering Munition System

  • Manual Positioning Loitering Munition System

By Application

  • Navy Force

  • Land Force

  • Air Force


North America (By Type, By Application, By Country)

  • U.S. (By Type)

  • Canada (By Type)

Europe (By Type, By Application, By Country)

  • U.K. (By Type)

  • Germany (By Type)

  • Italy (By Type)

  • Spain (By Type)

  • Rest of Europe (By Type)

Asia Pacific (By Type, By Application, By Country)

  • China (By Type)

  • Japan (By Type)

  • India (By Type)

  • Southeast Asia (By Type)

  • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Type)

Middle East & Africa (By Type, By Application, By Country)

  • UAE (By Type)

  • Egypt (By Type)

  • Saudi Arabia (By Type)

  • South Africa (By Type)

  • Rest of the Middle East & Africa (By Type)

Latin America (By Type, By Application, By Country)

  • Brazil (By Type)

  • Mexico (By Type)

  • Rest of Latin America (By Type)

Frequently Asked Questions

As per the Fortune Business Insights study, the market size was USD 1.03 billion in 2022.

The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 14.2% over the forecast period (2023-2030).

The medium-range segment is expected to lead the market.

Some of the top players in the market are AeroVironment Inc., UVision Air Ltd., and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI).

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