The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for military radars was valued at USD 14.93 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 25.01 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.90% during the forecast period (2023–2031). Radar is used in defense applications to identify air, land, and sea threats, including missiles, ships, aircraft, and spacecraft. In recent years, wars have changed because there are now more dangerous, mobile, and hard-to-track threats that can act independently. As the number of threats rises, countries are forced to protect their land at any cost from possible enemies. As a result, there is a growing focus on improving radar capabilities because they are the first line of defense for ongoing intrusion detection over a large area.
In addition, the United States, Russia, and Israel, three major defense exporters, view the Asia-Pacific as having the highest growth potential. They are promoting their radar systems to various nations in the region. Territorial disputes are getting worse in the region, pushing the countries to build surveillance systems to lessen their reliance on each other, find intrusions, and respond quickly. Manufacturers of radar systems are reinvesting in R&D to create more advanced radar systems with greater capacities and capabilities. They are also upgrading their current infrastructure to strengthen the global supply chain.
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Rising Defense Expenditure
Several ongoing global conflicts have been stoked by growing hegemonism, unilateralism, and power politics, which have undermined the design of international security systems due to significant changes in the international strategic landscape. Uncertainties in territorial rights between numerous nations, such as the Saudi-Iranian Cold War in the Middle East and the contested territorial claims between nations in the Asia-Pacific, are among the most significant factors destabilizing the geopolitical landscape. In such circumstances, the most frequent response by governments is to increase their military spending to enhance national security.
The focus of military superpowers like the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and India has been on enhancing their offensive and defensive capabilities. Several procurement programs are currently underway to improve the situational awareness of the armed forces to guarantee the combat readiness of the current defense systems. Several nations are upgrading their fleets with new-generation radar systems to sustain and enhance their capabilities for a few more years. These programs are expected to run throughout the forecast period. Radar platform and system development, procurement, and maintenance necessitate massive defense spending from countries. With growing national security threats, several countries are spending vast amounts on procuring and upgrading such equipment by absorbing significant portions of their defense spending.
Growing Investment in the Development of Advanced Radar Systems
Many companies that make military planes and weapons use stealth technology so that their products cannot be seen by radar systems that are currently in use. Stealth technology is based on how the materials used to build the airframe work together. Its distinctive design elements also reduce radar wave reflection, rendering the radars blind. Countries are creating cutting-edge radar systems with next-generation radar technologies to combat these stealthy threats from enemies. Additionally, there is a growing demand for early airborne warning radar systems worldwide. With the growing threats from stealth aircraft, the focus on developing and procuring such radar systems is expected to increase in the coming years, thus driving the market studied during the forecast period.
High Cost of Procurement and Development of Radar Systems
Modernizing or buying advanced military radars costs a lot of money because they use complicated technologies that make the systems more expensive overall. The COVID-19 pandemic sent a shockwave through an already fragile global economy, even though overall defense spending is rising. Governments in developing nations may need to quickly change their spending priorities by cutting defense spending because lockdowns and more money spent on healthcare hurt their budgets.
Adding radar systems to the defense networks of countries worldwide also costs a lot. The different fire control systems, command and control systems, missiles, and anti-aircraft guns must be connected to the radars. The launch and maintenance of these systems are also expensive. Thus, the high cost and time required for the manufacture and deployment of these radar systems limit the market's growth in developing countries that cannot afford to spend large sums on procuring advanced radar systems during the forecast period.
Growing Focus on Next-Generation Radar Systems
The need for radar systems of a more recent generation is expanding for reasons other than the development of radars that can detect stealth aircraft. Some of the latest radar systems whose demand has increased in recent years are Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) and Passive Radars. AESA radars have controlled array antennas and enable the evolution of higher (millimeter-wave) frequencies, providing excellent resolution with smaller phased-array antennas. AESA radars are better than traditional mechanically scanned radars at finding, targeting, following, and protecting themselves.
In addition, passive radar systems do not employ transmitters for surveillance or detection. They find and follow objects by analyzing reflections from sources of light that do not work together, like commercial and communication signals. 3D radar systems and dual-band radars are the two other next-generation radar systems. These radar systems are better for defense, so they can open up opportunities for the market to grow.
The global military radars market is segmented by platform and application.
By platform type, the global military radar market is divided into ground-based, naval, airborne, and space platforms.
The ground-based segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.62% over the forecast period. Ground-based radars are used for round surveillance, missile control, fire control, air traffic control (ATC), moving target indication (MTI), weapon location, and vehicle search. Modern ground-based radar systems are transportable by personnel as well as by vehicles. Ground-penetrating radars are also mounted on the front sides of military vehicles to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Due to the wide range of applications, international armed forces have adopted such radar systems, which has increased demand and led to several new contracts. Such developments are envisioned to drive segmental growth during the forecast period.
Using naval radars improves the capability to locate targets, assess threats, judge intent according to the engagement rules, and support weapon engagement through automatic tracking and line-of-sight fire control solutions. Since naval ships are cut off from the land, it is essential for their long-term survival against incoming threats that they have cutting-edge systems for detecting threats and taking action against them. To improve sea-based situational awareness, better radar systems that are highly reliable and accurate for maritime patrol are thus needed, driving the naval segment of the military radar market.
By application type, the global military radar market is divided into air and missile defense, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), navigation and weapon guidance, space situational awareness, and other applications.
The air and missile segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 5.03% over the forecast period. The air and missile segment is driven by the development of new radar systems, such as ground-based air defense radars made by the Danish company Weibel Scientific. This radar can detect and track very low-flying, small, and slow (LSS) drones from a great distance. Another top producer and integrator of these radar systems are Raytheon. Its SPY-6 radars are used on seven different classes of US Navy ships. The SPY-6 radars are superior to legacy radars in several ways, including significantly improved detection range, increased sensitivity, and improved discrimination.
Globally expanding asymmetric threat environments force militaries to develop more sophisticated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Many militaries are now concentrating on improving situational awareness and gathering real-time intelligence. Businesses are working to integrate cutting-edge technologies like EO/IR systems, RADAR systems, and signals intelligence (SIGINT) systems into ISR payloads so that they can always and in any environment gather data for multiple missions. Such developments are envisioned to drive the ISR segment of the market into focus during the forecast period.
North America Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global military radars market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.
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North America is the most significant global military radars market shareholder and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.37% during the forecast period. The regional market is anticipated to expand due to initiatives and programs like the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) and the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) programs. Radars are an essential part of aircraft, armored vehicles, naval ships, and UAVs; these defense vessels receive significant funding from the U.S. military, stimulating industry growth in the regional market. The U.S. Air Force is currently focusing on replacing its old vehicles with aircraft with the latest technology. For example, the U.S. Army's Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) competition was won by Raytheon in October 2019, and the company will provide a new radar to replace the MPQ-65A Patriot radar currently in use. In addition, Raytheon's radar meets all of the army's needs for mobility, such as fitting into a C-17 transport plane. Similarly, the Canadian navy is expanding its fleet of naval vessels for maritime security, driving market growth in this region.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.80% over the forecast period. Large-scale modernization activities of legacy systems and the rise in political tensions and border disputes in the Asia-Pacific countries of India and China are driving the demand for military radars in the region. In recent years, China produced a variety of new-generation fighter aircraft, including the stealth fighter, J-20. The aircraft is equipped with AESA radar that will scan the target information and transmit it to the fire control system. The country is also upgrading and installing radars along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) due to the dispute between the country and India. In addition, the presence of major companies such as the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited in India that develop and manufacture new and advanced radars for the armed forces drives the market in this region. The arms race in the Asia Pacific region, and steady investments in ground-based radar systems, are expected to keep the regional industry's growth prospects upbeat.
Europe is expected to experience significant growth as a result of the expanding military modernization programs. The demand is anticipated to be led by Spain, Germany, and other nations whose military spending has increased yearly. Hensoldt, a German defense electronics and sensor company, will provide all new AESA radars for the German and Spanish fleets of Eurofighter under a USD 1.70 billion contract signed in July 2020 with Airbus Defense and Space. According to the agreement, the company would give the 130 fighter aircraft radar parts like digital multi-channel receivers, antenna receivers, and transmitter modules.
The Middle East and Africa region is also projected to witness considerable market growth during the forecast period. The main drivers of this region's market growth are nations like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Radars are expected to improve because the Saudi Arabian Army and navy update their fleets with the latest radar technologies and more advanced military vehicles. The UAE is focusing more on anti-surveillance systems, which will increase demand for radars in the coming years. Also, the country is putting a lot of effort into building up its defense manufacturing industry with the help of global companies to attract more players to the market. The government has taken several measures to promote local defense companies.
The global military radars market’s major key players are