The global smart weapons market was valued at $14.90 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $23.96 billion in 2030, registering a CAGR of 5%.
Smart weapons are computer-guided munitions equipped with the radio, infrared, laser, global positioning system and satellite guidance system, which give extraordinary accuracy and precision. Smart weapons are also termed as precision-guided weapons that are intended to hit the target precisely and reduce collateral damage and lethality. Smart weapons are operated and assisted by the use of external operating systems, located far away in the geographical area. Smart weapons system has changed the course of war engagement and its strategies. Cruise missiles use the information from the navigation satellite to maintain a proper course and direction during a flight. Smart guns have safeguards that allow them to operate only when activated by an authorized person, thus reducing misuse, gun theft, and self-harm scenarios. The safeguard features in smart weapons include RFID (Radiofrequency Identification Device) chips, fingerprint recognition, biometric sensors, mechanical locks, and magnetic kit.
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Major Market Players:
- BAE Systems Plc.
- General Dynamics Corporation
- L3Harris Technologies Inc.
- Leonardo S.p.A.
- Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Northrop Grumman Corporation
- Raytheon Technologies Corporation
- Thales Group
- The Boeing Company
The global smart weapons market is driven by the growth in demand for precision strike weapons and unstable securities of countries. However, arms transfer regulations imposed on import and export of smart weapons pose a major restraint for the smart weapons market. On the contrary, a surge in the defense budget and increase in spending on up-gradation of weapons technology are factors that create new growth opportunities for prominent players. For instance, in September 2021, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with Northrop Grumman Corporation to proceed with low-rate initial production (LRIP) for the AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER).
The smart weapons market is segmented on the basis of product, technology, platform, and region. On the basis of product, the global smart weapons market is categorized into missiles, munitions, guided projectiles, guided rockets, guided firearms, and directed energy weapons. On the basis of technology, the market is classified into laser, infrared, radar, GPS, and others. On the basis of platform, the market is divided into air, land, and naval. On the basis of region, the market is analyzed across four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
COVID-19 Impact Analysis
- The COVID-19 impact on the smart weapons market is unpredictable, and is expected to remain in force for a few years.
- The COVID-19 outbreak forced governments across the globe to implement stringent lockdown and ban import–export of raw materials items for most of 2020 and few months in 2021. This led to sudden fall in the availability of important raw materials for manufacturing smart weapons.
- Moreover, nationwide lockdown forced smart weapons manufacturing facilities to partially or completely shut their operations.
- Adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in delays in activities and initiatives regarding development of advanced smart weapons globally.
Modern warfare techniques changed quickly over the past 10 years. Developed and developing countries focus on developing advanced missile systems with long-range and high impact. For instance, in December 2021, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the new generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile ‘Agni Prime’ from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha in Balasore. Alsi, in October 2021, the U.S. successfully tested hypersonic missile technology, a new weapons system, which is already being deployed by China and Russia. Such developments in missiles fuel the demand for precision strike weapons.
Key Market Segments
- By Product
- Guided Projectiles
- Guided Rockets
- Guided Firearms
- Directed Energy Weapons
- By Technology
- By Platform
Moreover, current conflicts globally have spotlighted the critical need for precision attacks and operational strikes. There is a crucial need to avoid any collateral damage with security and contribute to the efficient attack power potential that provides an immediate favorable effect on the warzone. These needs are met by smart weapons, which are quickly being taken into the defense forces inventories. Given the need for such weapons, the demand is expected to increase during and after the forecast period.
With the existing regulations, the arms regulations imposed on import and export trade are not regulated effectively, as illegal arms accumulation still remains an issue. Arms control treaties, problems associated with regulating arms trade, stressing the complexity of the interests involved in the emergence of small arms as most promising weapons, and black and grey markets in terms of inefficient trade regulations are the main restraints that are expected to hamper the smart weapons market growth.
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