The Military Simulator Market is estimated to register a CAGR of more than 3.5% during the forecast period (2021-2030).
The global GDP witnessed a decline by more than 4% in 2020 due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending has increased by 2.6% to reach USD 1981 billion in 2020. Nevertheless, defense spending might come down in the near future, due to the global economic crisis that is triggered by the pandemic. This factor is expected to challenge the growth of the military simulators market during the forecast period.
The growth in demand for military vehicles across the land, sea, and aerial platforms is the main driver for the market growth. Several countries are modernizing their military fleets by inducting newer generation vehicle platforms. This is generating a simultaneous demand for simulation-based training for the military personnel on these platforms, thereby propelling the market prospects of the related military simulators.
The training of pilots and military personnel in real aircraft, land vehicles, and ships involves many risks and sometimes may lead to hazardous situations and loss of lives. Simulators provide a realistic experience and safe training for beginners. This need for safe and efficient training is also driving the simulator market.
Key Market Trends
Air Segment is Expected to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The air segment of the market studied held the highest market share in 2020. The segment is also expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This is majorly due to the complexity and risk involved in aircraft compared to the other end users. For example, a single mistake by pilots on board a military aircraft while landing or take-off will not only cost the lives of people on board but also result in loss of sophisticated military property as well as compromising the mission. Such complexity has forced the military authorities to incorporate simulator-based training for pilots. Moreover, the increasing adoption of newer generation aircraft that incorporate complex technologies in the military may require training for pilots to familiarize themselves with the latest equipment and systems. In such situations, providing hands-on experience may be difficult due to high-cost involvement. In such cases, the simulators act as the preferred option. For instance, as of 2020, the operating cost of the USAF’s F-35A is estimated to be about USD 44,000 per flight hour. In this regard, the F-35 pilots are first trained on simulators, instead of the actual aircraft, which helps in cost-cutting. Pilots are typically trained for about 30 hours on the F-35 full-mission simulators, before getting airborne on their first sortie in the F-35. Lockheed Martin is also planning to connect full-mission simulators in the US and in the UK through a software upgrade, allowing the Air Force pilots in these countries to virtually train with one another across international borders. Furthermore, the USAF aims to deploy and connect more full-mission simulators in the years to come. Such initiatives also help the militaries increase their interoperability without conducting joint military exercises on actual aircraft, which is expected to drive the market growth during the forecast period.
North America Held the Largest Market Share in 2020
North America held the largest market share in 2020, and the region is also expected to exhibit the highest growth rate during the forecast period. The US has been the largest military spender in the world over the years. According to SIPRI, in 2020, the military expenditure of the country grew by 4.4% to reach USD 778 billion, accounting for 39% of the global military expenditure in 2020. The Armed Forces of the country are procuring several newer generation military vehicles across the land, air, and sea-based platforms, amidst the ongoing race for technological superiority. Simultaneously, the country is investing in the development and procurement of related simulator solutions, which is expected to drive market growth in the region. Though the US Air Force has been procuring simulators on a large scale for several years, the U.S. Navy is investing heavily in simulation to improve its navigation training and has budgeted for new integrated bridge simulators to fill the capacity gaps. The efforts to increase ship simulator capacity are further supported with the construction of new buildings in San Diego and Norfolk to house multiple simulation facilities. On the other hand, the Royal Canadian Air Force plans to combine two training programs under a single, multibillion-dollar project, the Future Aircrew Training program, or FAcT, under which the number of pilots trained annually will increase. Such developments are expected to drive the growth of the market in the North American region during the forecast period.
Some of the prominent players in the military simulator market in 2020 are Collins Aerospace (Raytheon Technologies Company), CAE Inc., L3Harris Technologies, Inc., FlightSafety International (Berkshire Hathaway Inc.), and Thales Group. Simulator manufacturers are required to build a brand and reach out to geographical extremes to get customers. Manufacturers may have the first-mover advantage if they can attract customers for the simulators for new vehicle platforms, as simulators tend to be able to be reconfigured or upgraded to support newer variants, providing the players to enjoy continuous revenue inflow. Mergers and Acquisitions are expected to help the players, by increasing their addressable market. For instance, in 2020, CAE announced that it has acquired TRU Simulation + Training Canada Inc. and in 2021, the company also announced plans to acquire L3Harris Technologies' Military Training business. Such acquisitions are expected to help the companies expand their market presence as well as their revenue share in the market during the forecast period.
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