The combat helmet market is expected to exhibit a CAGR of more than 6% during the forecast period, 2020 - 2025.
- The number of terrorist attacks has declined, globally, after a high rise during 2014-2016. However, the growth in armed conflicts in the Middle-East and South America has led to the deployment of combat forces in the region. The increased military expenditure by countries, such as India and China (India increased its defense budget by 9.4% for 2020-2021 and China increased its defense budget by 8.1% for 2018-19 and 7.5% for 2019-20), is expected to drive the market for combat helmets.
- The use of lightweight materials, such as plastic, is allowing the helmet designers to integrate more accessories, such as night vision and thermal vision headsets, communication headsets, combat visor, adapter and cables, and mandible guards, on the helmet.
- Several military powerhouses, such as India and China, are considering stripping down their land-based forces to fuel modernization. China reduced its military by 50% in 2019, and India plans to reduce its force size by 150,000 personnel by 2023. These modernization reforms are expected to fuel the market for combat helmets in the region, in an attempt to create leaner and effective combat forces.
- However, the stringent conformation standards set by regulatory bodies in various countries require players to invest more, thus, increasing their cost of R&D. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the global manufacturing operations, and due to the temporary shutdown of manufacturing plants in various weapon and tactical gear exporting countries, the market is expected to witness a marginal decline during 2020-2021.
Key Market Trends
Ballistic Fiber Helmets Dominate the Market
The increasing use of lightweight materials, such as Kevlar, Twaron, ultra-high molecular weight Polyethylene, is propelling the market growth for advanced combat helmets. The use of the aforementioned materials reduces the helmet weight by 20-30% and traumatic impact by blast and ammunition by 20%, as compared to standard metal and PASGT helmets. Hence, ballistic fiber combat helmets are anticipated to account for the largest market share during the forecast period. Helmet manufacturers, such as Honeywell and SORD, are investing in the R&D of materials having high energy redirecting properties. Certain design innovations, such as high cut design, are being incorporated to accommodate accessories, such as headsets and cables, while providing a comfortable fit. For instance, in 2019, the United States introduced a Second-generation Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS), which is nearly 50% lighter than its predecessor variant, for its ground-based armed forces. Digital system integration is another area that is seeing a lot of improvement in combat helmets. The use of augmented reality (AR) in helmets may increase the situational awareness of combatants, and the use of sensors and cameras may give them an enhanced 360-degree view of the environment via helmet-mounted HUD visors.
Asia-Pacific to Exhibit the Highest Growth Rate During the Forecast Period
Emerging economies in Asia-Pacific, such as India and China, are the top weapon importers with a huge military expenditure. India supplies combat systems and accessories to more than 40 countries. In 2018, the Government of India approved the purchase of 328,000 new ballistic helmets for its armed forces. In July 2018, MKU supplied the first lot of 7,500 advanced ballistic helmets to the Indian Army, as part of the contract worth USD 22.3 million to supply 158,000 helmets to the Indian Armed Forces. In China, the law enforcement agencies are being equipped with smart helmets developed by Kuang-Chi Technology that can detect the body temperature and assist in the containment of the spread of COVID-19. The helmet features a pre-installed Wi-Fi and 5G technology that efficiently integrates and enhances communication and data sharing. On a similar note, in September 2019, JARVISH Inc.’s prototype augmented reality (AR) helmet was qualified by Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) for the Digital Tactical AR Project of the Taiwanese Ministry of Defence. The first lot of smart helmets is expected to be delivered in 2020 for field trial.
The combat helmet market is consolidated with major players, such as ArmorSource LLC, 3M Company, Honeywell International Inc., Revision Military Inc., MKU Limited, and DuPont de Nemours Inc. dominating the market. In March 2020, Melbourne-based SORD received a USD 338,000 contract to supply concussion-proof combat helmets to Australian Defence Forces, as a part of the Australian government’s initiative of Defence Innovation Hub. Through this initiative, the government plans to invest USD 640 million in the national defense industry. The technology developed by SORD significantly reduces the impact of injuries caused by concussions, blunt trauma, etc.
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