The man-portable military communication systems market was valued at USD 3.39 billion in 2020, and it is expected to register a CAGR of over 3.4% during the forecast period (2021-2030).
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions and lockdowns have caused disruptions in the supply chains of various players in the market. However, players have adjusted their operations in response to the pandemic in the latter half of the year, which has resulted in mitigating the pandemic’s impact on the market.
Global military spending witnessed an increase of 2.6% in 2020 despite the fall in the global GDP, according to SIPRI. Though this is an encouraging factor for the market, defense spending may come down in the near future due to the global economic turndown triggered by the pandemic. This may challenge the growth of the market during the forecast period.
The growing focus on asymmetric warfare is forcing the militaries to develop their battlefield communication capabilities. The need for enhanced situational awareness, the necessity of quick command and control information availability at the individual soldier level, and the growing demand for more bandwidths are propelling the adoption of newer generation man-portable military communication systems.
The evolution of faster satellite-based communication and the advent of newer-generation portable SATCOM devices that are highly effective even in contested environments are anticipated to propel the demand for man-portable military communication systems during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
The Satellite Segment is Anticipated to Witness the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The use of satellite-based communication is increasing in the military, mainly due to the low latency and high transmission rate of this mode of communication. There is an increased focus on satellite-based cellular networks in battlefield communication to provide secure and faster communication for mobile forces. Several companies are concentrating on the development of satellite communication (SATCOM) systems that will provide the armed forces with on-the-move secure communication capabilities. For instance, in November 2020, the Israel-based defense company, Elbit Systems, introduced a portable tactical satellite communications (SATCOM) system named the E-LynX-Sat system that includes a mobile terminal weighing less than 1kg, which interfaces with Elbit Systems’ E-LynXTM Software Defined Radio (SDR) solution to enable communication. Likewise, Saankhya Labs, an Indian domestic player that designs and develops a wide range of secure and reliable communication systems for the Indian Army, has designed and developed several satellite communication systems in collaboration with ISRO, like SAMRAT, a two-way S-Band Satellite Mobile Radio Terminal (Satphone), NAVRAKSHA, a portable, two-way satellite communication terminal, and TARANG, a Multi-channel, Multi-standard Burst Demodulator system. With several armed forces looking for next-generation communication technologies, the forecast period is expected to witness a wide adoption of such systems. For instance, in December 2019, General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) announced that it had been awarded a USD 731.8 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) ground system sustainment for the US forces. MUOS is a next-generation satellite communications system that provides secure voice and data communications for warfighters on the move, with data transmission speed similar to civilian mobile phones. Such developments are expected to bolster the prospects of the satellite segment during the forecast period.
North America Held the Largest Market Share in 2020
North America currently has the largest market share in the man-portable military communication systems market. A majority of the demand from North America is from the United States. The US Army’s tactical network modernization strategy involves developing and fielding a network that is more expeditionary and mobile, less complex, and better protected. The strategy is aimed at addressing the network challenges it is facing currently while also actively seeking next-generation solutions to stay ahead of its potential adversaries. According to the budget documents released in 2020, the US Army wants to spend more than USD 3 billion to buy new Handheld Manpack Radios till 2024. The radios are a key part of the country’s integrated tactical network, the concept behind the Army’s modernized battlefield network, under which it plans to incrementally add capabilities every two years starting 2021. As part of the effort, the United States is procuring 2-channel Leader radios, Manpack radios, and Rifleman radios for its Army. While Collins Aerospace and L3Harris are the primary contractors for the Manpack radios, L3Harris and Thales are the primary contractors for the Leader and Rifleman radios. In December 2020, L3Harris Technologies announced that it had received a USD 57 million competitive award for its Falcon IV AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld radios, along with related equipment and services, as part of the US Army’s two-channel Leader radio contract. The order is the third one under the potential USD 3.9 billion IDIQ contract, which includes a five-year base and an additional five-year option. The Army expects to purchase approximately 100,000 two-channel Leader Radios under the IDIQ, which is expected to propel the growth of the market in North America during the forecast period.
L3Harris Technologies Inc., General Dynamics Corporation, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Elbit Systems Ltd, and Thales Group are some of the prominent players in the market. The defense manufacturing companies worldwide are focused on designing and developing inexpensive and lightweight man-portable communication systems to reduce the burden on dismounted infantrymen. Also, there is a huge focus on man-portable communication systems that are secure and can communicate over a large portion of the spectrum while supporting multiple protocols. Thus, a high level of R&D is required to produce man-portable military communication solutions that incorporate newer technologies and lightweight materials to improve the effectiveness of the mission and the agility of the soldier. Players are currently focusing on such technologies to develop new products and gain new contracts with the militaries, thereby enhancing their market presence and growth. In addition, there is also an increased focus on developing indigenous systems. For instance, the Indian Army is working on revamping its communication systems by procuring indigenous Very/Ultra High Frequency (V/UHF) Manpack SDRs under the Make-II category. Such developments are expected to drive the growth of the local players during the forecast period.
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