The Smart Weapons refer to weapons with artificial intelligence, usually composed of information collection and processing systems, a knowledge base, auxiliary decision-making, and a task execution system. It can complete military missions such as surveillance, search, aiming, attacking targets, and collecting, sorting, analyzing, and comprehensive intelligence. Smart weapons are modern high-tech weapons with artificial intelligence that can automatically find, identify, track, and destroy targets. It includes precision-guided weapons, unmanned aircraft, unmanned tanks, unmanned artillery, intelligent torpedoes, and autonomous multi-purpose intelligent combat robots, etc.
The global smart weapons market size was valued at USD 14.05 billion in 2019 and expected to grow at a CAGR of over 5.6% during the forecast period, 2020-2027. The growth of the market is driven by armed conflicts, terror activities, cross-border disputes, and increasing military use of smart weapons. Additionally, the growing demand for smart weapons for mounting the cost of maintenance and aging military equipment will spur the global smart weapons industry in the future periods. The advantages of smart weapons are that they are powered by laser and similar advanced technology and offer high accuracy, candid shots, and quick-hit capability. These factors anticipated driving the growth of the smart weapons market in the upcoming years. Further, change like warfare, and growing demand for high precision arms and ammunition is anticipated to fuel the demand for smart weapons across the globe. The surge in demand for powerful striking power and efficient defense system and stringent government regulations for reducing the increasing arms transfer and aiming to maintain peace is propelling the robust growth of the smart weapons market.
Moreover, the rapid integration of various navigation & communication technologies in weapon systems will boom the growth of the global smart weapons market share in the analysis timeframe. The upsurge in spending on the defense sector by developing countries India and China to modernize their equipment is strengthening the market growth. Furthermore, regulation of various government treaties for the design, development, testing, manufacturing, acquisitions, and operations of weapon systems will accelerate the growth of the smart weapons market in the forecast span. The competitive advantages of smart weapons such as accurate, reliable first short and quick-hit capability and an overall reduction in the logistics carrying cost will augment the growth of the smart weapons market. Additionally, the rise in terrorist activities globally, increasing the need for better and modernized weapons units, is positively impacting the demand.
In 2019, global military expenditure reached 1.9 trillion US dollars. According to the latest data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending has increased by 3.6% from 2018. According to the SIPRI report, US military expenditures accounted for 38% of global military expenditures in 2019. The increase in its 2018 budget alone is equivalent to Germany’s total expenditure in 2019. In Asia, the military expenditures of China’s competitors and the major nuclear-weapon country, India, are considerable. Last year, they increased by nearly 7% to US$71.1 billion.
The evolution of the world situation is advancing toward multi-polarization. The gap between the strength of emerging and traditional powers is narrowing, globalization and counter-globalization are mixed, ethnic conflicts and transnational disputes are frequent, extreme Doctrine and terrorism are inextricably linked. The conflict and violence are currently on the rise, with many conflicts today waged between non-state actors such as political militias, criminal, and international terrorist groups. According to the United Nations, in 2017, almost half a million people worldwide were killed in homicides, far surpassing the 89,000 killed in active armed conflicts and the 19,000 killed in terrorist attacks.
Based on the platform, the global smart weapons market classified into airborne, land-based, and naval. The land-based segment is expected to achieve the highest revenue share for smart weapons during the forecast period. The segment’s growth is primarily attributed to the upsurge in demand for anti-tank missiles and swelling cross-border conflicts and terrorist activities. The land includes guided weapons, artillery, shoulder-fired weapons, and precision firearms, etc.
The airborne will witness a lucrative growth rate in the estimated period due to the rise in demand for satellite-guided weapons that converts unguided bombs into all-weather smart munitions.
Based on the technology, the global smart weapons market categorized into laser, infrared, radar, GPS, and others. The infrared segment is estimated to witness significant growth over the analysis timeframe due to military forces in applications, such as target acquisition, night vision, tracking, and surveillance.
The laser will grow at a significant rate during the forecast period because it is used for striking a designated target with greater accuracy than an unguided bomb.
Based on the product, the global smart weapons market segregated into missiles, munitions, guided projectile, guided rocket, and guided firearms. The munitions segment held for a significant market share in 2019 and will witness to gain maximum market revenue by 2027. It is attributable to the growing number of army modernization programs, swelling procurement of military equipment, and the upsurge in defense budgets globally.
The guided rocket segment is poised to witness significant growth over the forecast period as it includes air-to-ground missiles and surface-to-air missiles and a rise in need for gun safety.
Based on geography, the global smart weapons market segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa. North America estimated to gain maximum considerable growth over 2020-2026. Due to the sizable defense budget, the favorable regulatory scenario in the US, the growing need to counter increasing terrorist activities across the globe, and various military equipment modernization programs.
The Asia Pacific will capture a prominent share of the smart weapons market by 2027. Due to the surge in the military’s budget, emerging economies such as India and China invest in smart weapons and modernizing existing equipment.
Companies such Airbus Defence & Space, Aselsan A.S., BAE Systems PLC, Diehl Defence, General Dynamics, Hanwha Corporation, L3Harris, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., JSC Concern Vko “Almaz-Antey,” Kongsberg Gruppen, Leonardo S.P.A., Lockheed Martin Corporation, MBDA, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and Raytheon Company, are the key players in the global smart weapons market.