The military robots market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 10% during the forecast period.
- An increase in defense spending due to territorial conflicts between countries is a major factor driving the military robots market.
- With the increasing warfare at the borders, there may be rapid growth in the procurement of military robots for common ISR functions, advanced monitoring, and targeting, which may propel the market demand.
- The deployment of robots for dangerous and hazardous missions to decrease human casualties is increasing. This trend of replacing human soldiers with advanced robots to decrease casualties is anticipated to drive the growth of the market.
- The United States, Russia, China, India, Israel, and few European countries are heavily investing in the development of advanced robot soldiers and AI-based unmanned ground, sea, and airborne vehicles, which may bloster the growth of the market in the coming years.
Key Market Trends
Airborne Segment Currently Dominates the Market
The airborne segment is currently dominating the market. The increase in border security surveillance is propelling the investments in UAVs for aerial surveillance and enhanced situational awareness of the terrain. The development of UAVs with advanced payloads for higher durability, extended range, and improved accuracy to detect and track the targets for ground troops is propelling the procurement plans to the armed forces. For instance, in August 2019, AeroVironment Inc. received a USD 5.25 million contract from the US Border Patrol, a part of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) forces, for Puma 3 AE, a third-generation UAV. Similarly, in October 2019, Elbit Systems Ltd was awarded a USD 153 million contract to provide a networked multi-layered UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) array to an undisclosed customer in Southeast Asia, through 2021. The contract may include the supply of over 1,000 THOR Multi-Rotor Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) mini-UAS, Skylark LEX, Skylark 3, and Hermes 450 tactical UAS, along with Universal Ground Control Stations. The military modernization programs of the armed forces to enhance their surveillance capabilities of the armies are driving the investments in the development of new UAVs across the world.
North America Held the Highest Share in 2019
Currently, North America holds the highest market share in the military robots market, due to the development and procurement of UAVs, UGVs, and USVs by the defense forces in the United States. Military robots are currently being used by the US military and law enforcement agencies for various applications, including border security, search and rescue operations, crowd monitoring and control, and surveillance. For instance, FLIR Systems Inc. received more than USD 40 million contract orders to supply more than 300 Centaur Unmanned Ground Vehicles to the US Marine Corps (order for more than 140 UGVs in April 2020) and US Air Force (order for approximately 200 UGVs in March 2020). Marine Corps Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams plan to deploy the FLIR Centaur for disarming IEDs (improvised explosive devices), unexploded ordnance, and similar hazardous tasks. Additionally, the country is investing in UUVs to strengthen its naval capabilities, which is propelling market growth. In February 2019, Boeing was awarded a USD 43 million contract from the US Navy to build four, long-endurance, extra-large UUVs. Such procurement of plans of unmanned systems is bolstering the growth of military robots in the region.
The prominent players in the military robots market are Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, Elbit Systems Ltd, and FLIR Systems Inc. The integration of advanced sensors systems into the robots improves the situational awareness of the military operators. For instance, in September 2019, FLIR Systems Inc. announced the industry’s first multi-gas detector for UAS. Also, the companies are investing heavily in R&D to increase autonomy into robots with the use of technologies, like artificial intelligence. In addition, the acquisition of small regional players and technology companies by international players and hardware manufacturing companies is expected to increase the consolidation in the market. For instance, FLIR Systems successfully completed the acquisition of Endeavor Robotics in March 2019. Such acquisitions may help the companies enhance their product lines, as well as the presence of companies in other geographical locations.
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