The stealth technologies market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 6% during the forecast period.
- Modern military systems are heavily reliant on complex software and interconnectivity to perform their missions. Advanced features, such as an electronic attack, sensor fusion, and communications, of the cyber-enabled military systems provide a tactical edge to the equipped armed forces against an adversary force or during critical operations in a hostile environment. The emergence of sophisticated weapon systems necessitated the adoption of advanced stealth fighters that can infiltrate the stronghold of a similar technology incumbent adversary.
- However, the market may be deterred by the design challenges faced by system integrators to incorporate advanced features in their product portfolio without compromising on the payload capacity and range of a stealth platform, such as a fifth-generation aircraft. Designers are also required to ensure the availability of sophisticated integrated features and cross-compatibility with the advanced weapon and navigation sensors and subsystems from other system manufacturers to develop a fully operational stealth platform, hence, rendering a complex outlook to the overall system design. Furthermore, the rapid technological disruption may also result in a feature under development being rendered obsolete even prior to integration into the system, escalating the financial risks for the market players.
Key Market Trends
Rapid Technological Advancements to Bolster the Development of Stealth Assets
Global military powerhouses, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, and Japan, are vying to achieve a profound reconceptualization of modern warfare techniques. There was a significant increase in the global annual defense spending of these countries in the past five years. The armed forces of every country are developing concepts for employing advanced stealth capabilities in each warfare domain to gain a tactical advantage over its adversaries in the event of armed conflict. For instance, the United States added two new domains of warfare, namely space and cyber, to the existent traditional warfare domains – land, sea, and air. The US military is aiming to fully exploit an innovative and synchronized approach to develop advanced stealth military assets and weaponry to precisely infiltrate and destroy an enemy fortification, while minimizing the risk of detection and neutralization by enemy countermeasures. On this note, the FY 2021 defense budget of the United States entails the allocation of significant resources toward enhancing the stealth prowess of the nation. Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems have become frontrunners in the race to develop superior stealth technologies. While BAE Systems is focusing on the development of microwave material design and manufacture, including radar-absorbent materials (RAM), Lockheed Martin has become synonymous with the design of stealth aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and weapons to ensure combat superiority. Both companies are now focused on developing cost-effective, high-performance stealth technologies with reduced maintenance requirements. Such R&D efforts and technological shifts are expected to drive the market in focus during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific to Bolster Market Prospects During the Forecast Period
The strengthening of the strategic military alliances between the United States and several Asia-Pacific sovereign nations and subsequent reinforcement of military deployment and intervention resulted in a complex scenario, urging rapid modernization of defense capabilities of regional countries, such as China, to safeguard their vested interests. To ensure combat readiness of existing systems, several armed forces’ modernization programs are currently underway to effectively upgrade the capabilities of the regional armed forces for effectively responding to security threats and accomplish urgent, critical, and dangerous strategic missions. To address the evolving threats, major countries in the region are realigning their military strategies and organizational structures. Cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information, big data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), resulted in the development of long-range precision, intelligent, stealthy or unmanned weaponry and equipment, radicalizing traditional warfare in favor of intelligence warfare. On this note, in 2018, China recorded a straight 11-year increase in its annual military expenditure. During 2018, the country’s annual military expenditure accounted for 49% of the total defense expenditure in the Asia-Pacific region. Similar initiatives are being deployed by other nations in the region to maintain territorial integrity and preserve national sovereignty. For instance, Japan plans to indigenously develop a stealth fighter dubbed the F-3, and hence, it has plans to award a potential contract worth USD 40 billion. The F-3 may succeed the F-2, a derivative of the F-16 Fighting Falcon jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Lockheed Martin more than two decades ago. Such developments are envisioned to drive the growth prospects of the market in focus during the forecast period.
The prominent players in the stealth technologies market are Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, BAE Systems PLC, and Leonardo SpA, among others. Vendors are modifying their offerings to enhance current capabilities and introduce revolutionary features as a means to deliver value-added stealth technology integrated assets and weaponry to the military end users. This helps introduce low differentiated products at competitive pricing. Furthermore, a strategic collaboration between manufacturers is on the rise to develop sophisticated systems that conform to the design and performance specifications of the end-user defense forces. This is expected to benefit industry stakeholders during the forecast period.
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