The military electro-optical and infrared systems market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 3.02% during the forecast period.
- The growing defense expenditures, increasing necessity to enhance the military ISR capabilities and the battlefield situational awareness, and the growing procurement of unmanned systems are the main drivers for the market.
- Howevver, various design challenges, technological constraints, supply chain risks, the evolving global crisis, and unprecedented factors, like the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, are projected to affect the market prospects during the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
The Sea-based Segment to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The sea-based segment of the market is anticipated to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth of territorial conflicts and border issues increased the risk for maritime assets of militaries, which led to increasing emphasis on surveillance, threat detection, and target identification at sea. As modern combats involve a greater emphasis on these capabilities, armed forces are mostly focusing on the incorporation and integration of sophisticated and advanced sensor systems into their naval vessels. It is important for navies to obtain motion imagery from EO/IR sensors that provide day-night and long-range eyes on the target, which improves their ability to identify targets, perform threat assessment, assess intent in accordance with the rules of engagement, and support weapon engagement through automatic tracking and fire control solutions through line-of-sight. Thus, the need for better sensor systems that are highly reliable and accurate for the maritime patrol to improve sea-based situational awareness has increased. In addition, as the naval vessels are isolated from the terrain, it becomes important for them to possess advanced threat detection and countermeasure systems for their long-time survival from impending threats. This is driving the growth of R&D in these sea-based EO/IR sensors currently. Several nations are upgrading their naval EO/IR sensor systems. In August 2019, the US Department of Defense announced the agreement with FLIR Surveillance Inc. for the supply, repair, and upgradation of Sea Star SAFIRE III Electro-optics Sensor Systems. The project is expected to be completed by August 2024. Such developments are expected to bolster the prospects for the sea-based segment in the years to come.
North America held the Largest Market Share in 2019
North America held the largest share in the market in 2019, primarily due to high demand from the US armed forces for the EO/IR systems. The enhanced capabilities of the adversaries on the battlefield forced the United States to increase its investment in technologically advanced weapon systems. Also, the growing involvement of the US armed forces in various global conflicts significantly contributed to the growth of the procurement of advanced ISRsystems and other systems that enhance the situational awareness of the military. In February 2020, the current US president proposed the FY 2021 budget of USD 740.5 billion for national security, of which, USD 705.4 billion is allocated for the Department of Defense (DoD). The FY 2021 base budget includes a funding of about USD 125 billion for enhancing the mission readiness of various armed forces of the country. The focus of the country on obtaining advanced ISR capabilities is proving to be fruitful for several EO/IR technology providers. Raytheon, in August 2019, secured a potential seven-year, USD 534 million contract to develop an infrared thermal viewer system for the US Army and provide the related engineering services. As a part of the modernization of military equipment, in October 2019, L3Harris Technologies received an order of worth USD 454 million for 65 WESCAM MX-10D electro-optical sensor suite units from the US Army. These sensors will be mounted on the Tactical Unmanned Air Systems Shadow UAV (RQ-7Bv2) that is currently in service, which will allow the drones to geolocate and tag air and ground targets. Also, these sensors will provide additional situational awareness against the new vehicles and weapons. Similar orders for new electro-optical sensors and the upgrading of various military systems with advanced EO/IR sensors is anticipated to propel the growth of the market in the region during the forecast period.
Some of the prominent players in the market are FLIR Systems Inc., L3Harris Technologies Inc., BAE Systems PLC, Thales Group, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. Prominent market players have a multifaceted product portfolio. Additionally, they try to modify and enhance their current capabilities through continuous R&D and introduce sophisticated features to deliver value-added EO/IR solutions to end users. This also helps introduce low differentiated products at competitive pricing. Most of the integration programs are long-term, and hence, several IDIQ contracts are currently underway, signifying design modification and production of sophisticated EO/IR sensors as per end-user specifications. Since the end-user requirements are diverse, it encourages strategic collaboration between market players. Furthermore, the development of new integration platforms drives the demand for integration of sophisticated EO/IR sensors and systems, which, in turn, may create a positive outlook for the market during the forecast period.
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