The global smart weapons market is valued at $3621 million in 2013 and is expected to register a CAGR of 8.06% to reach $5335.1 million by 2018. The cumulative market across the forecasted period is estimated to be $26.73 billion.
U.S. is the most attractive market for smart weapons. It is a matured market with most of the market leaders situated in this country. The U.S. smart weapons market is valued at $1593.3 million in 2013 and is expected to register a CAGR of 2.6% to reach $1817.5 million by 2018. The second-largest market is the Middle East, where the market is expected to increase from $350.9 million in 2013 to $712.1 million in 2018.
Recent conflicts across the globe have emphasized the need for precision attacks and stand-off surgical strikes. There is an imperative need to avoid collateral damage and at the same time provide combatant commanders with a weapons capability that could create an immediate positive effect on the battlefield. These needs are met by smart weapons that are increasingly being added to the inventory of the armed forces. Given the need for such systems, the demand is expected to increase during and after the period under study.
Smart weapons range from precision-guided artillery rounds and precision-guided bombs to precision-guided stand-off missiles. Anti-armor weapons comprise of anti-tank and anti-structure missiles. Lately, multi-mission capable missiles, which could be used in a variety of operations, are widely developed and produced, thus reducing logistics and providing single, easy-to-use solutions for a variety of missions. Guided munitions are bombs that are fitted with any one of the following guidance systems: inertial navigation system, global positioning system, laser beam guidance, terrain mapping, radar guidance, infrared imaging, and video guidance systems.
These guidance systems can be used individually or by combining two different guidance mechanisms; thus creating a hybrid navigation system that helps in improving all weather targeting and attacking capabilities for war fighters. JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) by The Boeing Company, Paveway by Raytheon and AASM by Sagem of France are a couple of widely procured guided munitions. The demand for precision/surgical strikes has led to an increased demand for these systems, and western companies, who dominate this market, are expected to strengthen their market position across the globe in the coming decade or at least until a credible domestic capability is built by the procuring nations.
The need to provide precision fire capabilities to soldiers operating in squad and platoon levels has led to the development of guided projectiles and is being inducted by all major armed forces. The precision effect offered by these projectiles — apart from offering a reliable first-shot, first-hit capability — also reduces the logistics burden. The advancement of technology means that the unit cost of such systems will be further reduced; thus, making it even more attractive and affordable.
Guided rockets fulfill the armed forces’ requirement for tactical and operational support. The larger rockets launched from MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) platforms serve as accurate strike weapons across long distances of more than 50km. From an operational perspective, it falls between artillery and longer-range stand-off weapons. Its extreme accuracy has helped to achieve minimum collateral damage and is considered extremely reliable. The continuous upgradation of guided weapon opens new market opportunities. Another development widely seen in the field of guided rockets is the development of a precision-guided kit for 70 mm rockets. 70 mm rockets are widely used in fixed and rotary wing aircraft for close combat support roles and are usually fired in salvos. This has greatly improved the accuracy and usability of the rockets, thus creating a niche market opportunity for such systems.