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The global smart weapons market size was USD 17.17 billion in 2020, and the market is projected to grow USD 30.12 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 8.02% during the 2021-2028 period. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with smart weapons witnessing a slightly negative impact on demand across all regions amid the pandemic.
A smart weapon allows target hitting with higher accuracy by using a guidance system. It includes air-to-ground missiles, sensor-fused weapons, steerable bombs, and guided weapons equipped with satellite or laser guidance systems. Additionally, the satellite-guided bombs consist of guidance computers that use navigation satellites to confirm the target. By adopting smart technology, cruise missiles can adopt navigation satellite information to maintain a proper flight course. On January 22, 2021, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India conducted a successful trial of a newly developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) equipped on the Hawk-I jet developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Procurement of Key Contracts during COVID-19 Pandemic to Aid Growth
The defense industry has witnessed unprecedented challenges due to the novel coronavirus. Due to lockdown in most countries across the world, there was a huge impact on the defense industry resulting in production halt from key players and delayed deliveries of smart weapons. In March 2020, due to a lockdown in France, Rafale's production halt resulted in the delayed delivery of jets to India.
Despite delays, the market is expected to showcase steady growth during the pandemic. For instance, in March 2020, Raytheon Company signed a contract worth USD 353.3 million with the U.S. Navy to provide guided missile round packs and replacement parts for the Block 2A and two variants of the rolling airframe missile system. Therefore, the signing of contracts by major companies is expected to lead to the steady growth of the market amid COVID-19.
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Development of Network Enabled Weapons to Transform Armed Force Operations
Nowadays, smart weapons original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) primarily focus on developing advanced technology weapons. Network-enabled weapons (NEW) can integrate and share information between systems and platforms in real-time. These weapons can find, track, and engage a target faster than before while proving essential during the de-conflicting operations. These NEWs can exchange information between the nodes linked to the network and drive their demand across armed forces worldwide. In January 2021, MBDA signed a contract with the U.K Ministry of Defense to equip a new mini Spear 3 network-enabled cruise missile for its F-35B combat jets. The value of the contract was worth USD 750 million. Therefore, the development of advanced weapon systems is expected to bode well for the global smart weapons market growth in the forthcoming years.
Increasing Need for Precision Weapons Due to Rising Warfare Activities to Boost Growth
The growing need for highly precise weapons due to the increasing geopolitical conflicts, and cross-border issues, among others, are the factors driving the growth of the global market. The high demand for such weapons is due to their cost-effectiveness, higher accuracy, versatility, increased operational range, and minimal training time. Furthermore, the rising number of replenishment and modernization programs from military forces is likely to boost the demand for these weapons. For instance, in March 2020, Raytheon Technologies Corporation signed a modification contract worth USD 110 million with the U.S. Navy to modernize the radar-guided gun weapon system. The system is expected to help the U.S. Navy strengthen its defense against aircraft and anti-ship missile littoral warfare threats.
Surging Defense Budgets and Procurement of Next-generation Smart Weapons to Propel Growth
The increasing defense expenditure, expansion of military forces, and procurement of advanced weapons for special operations are some of the factors that are anticipated to drive the market growth. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States allotted USD 732 billion for the defense sector in 2020. China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia's defense budget was USD 261 billion, USD 71.1 billion, USD 65.1 billion, USD 61.9 billion, respectively. Thus, the growing procurement of these smart type of weapons for military operations is expected to propel the growth of the market.
For instance, in 2019, the Russian Navy received the Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft for naval operations. In April 2019, Elbit Systems signed a two-year contract with one of the Asia-Pacific countries to supply a precisely guided mortar munition (GMM), STYLET. The value of the contract was worth USD 30 million.
Stringent Government Regulations on Guided Firearms to Hamper Growth
Stringent government rules and regulations across countries such as India, New Zealand, Australia, the U.K, and others are expected to hamper the growth of the global market. These countries have imposed strict regulations on the procurement and usage of weapons. For instance, in 2019, New Zealand banned semi-automatic weapons across the country due to a mass shooting incident that killed 50 people in Christchurch mosques. Additionally, India has strict firearm laws in the world regarding the issuance of gun licenses. Therefore, such factors are expected to impede the growth of the market in the forthcoming years.
Missiles Segment to Hold Largest Share Backed by Increasing Demand from Armed Forces
Based on the product, the global market is segmented into missiles, munitions, guided projectiles, guided rockets, and directed energy weapons.
The missiles segment is expected to remain dominant due to the increasing demand for advanced guided missiles from the defense forces. For instance, in September 2019, BAE Systems signed a contract worth USD 2,680 million with the U.S. and nine other countries to provide a semi-guided missile weapons system till 2025.
The munition segment is estimated to show the highest growth rate during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to the increasing demand for next-generation precision-guided munitions due to the rising terrorist activities, political unrest, and cross-border conflicts worldwide.
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Land Segment to Grow Rapidly due to High Demand from Military Forces
Based on the platform, the market is classified into air, land, and naval.
The land segment is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period. The increasing defense spending, the rapid expansion of military forces, and the growing procurement of smart weapons will boost segmental growth. For instance, in July 2017, CGI signed a contract with the U.S. Army to support the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) programs. The value of the contract was worth USD 92.5 million.
The air segment will showcase significant growth owing to the rising demand for precision weapons from air forces. For instance, in 2020, Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) developed by DRDO launched from the Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI and SEPECAT Jaguar aircraft.
The naval segment will showcase moderate growth owing to the increasing procurement of directed energy weapons from naval forces.
Laser Guidance Segment to Experience Highest Growth Stoked by Development of Technologically Advanced Products
Based on the technology, the market is divided into laser guidance, infrared guidance, radar guidance, satellite guidance, and others.
The laser guidance segment is anticipated to showcase exponential growth in the forthcoming years. The growth is due to the introduction of the latest technology such as lasers that improves accuracy and operational efficiency.
The satellite guidance segment is projected to showcase significant growth during the forecast period. The growth is due to the growing demand for GPS-guided smart weapons as they can operate efficiently even during bad weather conditions.
North America Smart Weapons Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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Based on region, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World.
North America stood at USD 5.79 billion in 2020 and is likely to dominate the global smart weapons market during the forecast period. The growth is attributed to the highest defense or military spending and increasing military modernization programs. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense allotted USD 4.3 billion for the procurement of 6,062 munitions. Moreover, the presence of key players such as Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, and others will favor the regional market growth.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to showcase remarkable growth during the forecast period. The growth is due to growing investments in the defense sector from India, China, South Korea, Japan, and others. Cross border conflicts, political unrest, and rising terrorism across Asia Pacific propel the key market growth during the forecast period.
Europe is expected to experience significant growth due to key players such as Thales Group, BAE Systems, Rheinmetall AG, and others. Additionally, the increasing defense expenditure for strengthening military forces from countries such as the U.K, France, and Russia is likely to drive the demand for these weapons.
The market in Rest of the World is anticipated to experience considerable growth due to the rising procurement of advanced smart weapons from the Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and others. In June 2019, EDGE signed a contract worth USD 1 billion with the UAE Armed forces to deliver its Desert Sting-16 range of precision-guided weapons.
Key Players Focus on Business Expansion through Contracts, Partnerships, and Merger & Acquisitions
Several key players in the market are focusing on developing advanced technology products for improving overall defense operations. Additionally, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) focus on business expansion through contracts with military forces, mergers & acquisitions, etc. For instance, on February 19, 2021, India launched homegrown missile Helina from the advanced light helicopter, Dhruv. It was designed and developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of India. Helina is an anti-tank guided missile test-fired during a joint user trial by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army.
An Infographic Representation of Smart Weapons Market
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The research report provides a detailed smart weapons industry analysis and focuses on key aspects such as smart weapons products, key players, platforms, and technology used in weapons. Moreover, the research report offers insights on market trends, competitive landscape, market competition, product pricing, market status, and key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the market report encompasses several direct and indirect factors that have contributed to the global market's sizing over recent years.
Value (USD Billion)
Product; Platform; Technology and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 17.17 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 30.12 billion by 2028.
Registering a CAGR of 8.02%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).
The laser guidance segment is expected to lead the market.
BAE Systems is the leading player in the global market.
North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.
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