The global military robots market size was valued at USD 19,086.20 million in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 38,794.02 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 8.20% during the forecast period (2022-2030).
Military robots are mobile, autonomous robots with remote controls for military tasks such as transport, search and rescue, and attack. Military robots are typically used in tiresome, hazardous, and challenging tasks. They enable warriors to sense-make more effectively, move more quickly, and survive longer while also helping to lessen human weariness for relatively simple activities. In order to neutralize terrorists remotely, military robots have been widely used and deployed for crucial missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Robotic deployments in contemporary conflicts have also been supported by the changing nature of warfare and the cost associated with combat losses. Most countries have invested in new unmanned systems to maintain a fleet of UAVs, UUVs, and UGVs for crucial missions due to concerns over casualties in previous wars.
Unmanned and machine-assisted systems are already used to take over some of the many hazardous, physically demanding, and psychologically draining tasks that people once performed. Replacing humans with robots in military missions has several benefits. Autonomous systems have a force multiplier effect if used in conjunction with soldiers on the battlefield. Robots also contribute to a decrease in casualties by displacing human combatants from hazardous missions. Due to these benefits, there is a greater emphasis on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into robotic systems, which is projected to spur innovation in the military robot sector. Military organizations and industry participants are concentrating on creating fully autonomous military robot systems.
The demand for developing automated systems that can achieve performance levels comparable to those of a human is driven by the focus on boosting the safety and security of military personnel. Robots can now do jobs more effectively thanks to AI and ML technology integration. Several nations are concentrating on creating technologically sophisticated robots that use these technologies. The UK's Ministry of Defense (MoD) revealed in October 2020 that it had created a drone prototype equipped with a twin-barrel stabilized shotgun precisely for interior missions. The UAV employs "machine vision" and AI-powered camera technologies to recognize people and things inside a property.
The use of robots in intricate military scenarios has given rise to several ethical questions. Although AI and autonomous operations improve military decision-making, speed up military operations, and expand their scope, these technologies may also be unpredictable or subject to unusual forms of exploitation. There is doubt about the dependability of robots in future military operations. Cyberattacks and design complexity to fulfill strict size, weight, and power (SWaP) limits are additional difficulties. The number of RF (radio frequency) and microwave components onboard unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designs is growing to meet performance difficulties and address technological hurdles ranging from counter-UAV technology to power consumption.
Autonomous systems use high-definition video for intelligence and surveillance, which calls for even more signal bandwidth. Even if these difficulties still exist, a better knowledge of the challenges in human factors related to the visual processing required in these jobs will result in future designs and enhanced capabilities. Additionally, as AI develops, robots will eventually be enhanced with sophisticated thinking and qualitative judgments, making them potentially a suitable replacement for humans under certain conditions.
Increased financing for studying and creating the next generation of robots, which have both military and non-combat applications, has become a prominent movement in recent years. Many governments have begun to spend extensively on autonomous military systems to take advantage of the advantages that robots in the military can provide. Although uncrewed aircraft vehicles had previously received most of the attention, investments in creating land- and sea-based robots have recently increased. The US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has made considerable expenditures on military robot technology. The United States urged defense firms to innovate more, concentrating on upgrades to readily upgradeable software instead of hardware that can take years to reach the market. It seeks to utilize 3D printing to quicken the procedure. These factors are anticipated to create opportunities for market growth.
The global military robots market is segmented by platforms and mode of operation.
The global military robots market is bifurcated into land, marine, and airborne.
The airborne segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.95% during the forecast period. Due to their superior vision, ability to conduct pre-emptive strikes, and capacity for monitoring specified areas, drones are widely used in modern warfare scenarios. By upgrading the capabilities of their current UCAV fleets and acquiring cutting-edge models, many nations are investing heavily in the modernization of their airborne defense and offensive units. This cutting-edge technology will support them in carrying out successful military operations. For asymmetrical warfare, where the combatant forces might achieve operational efficiency by coordinating with their adversaries, international armed forces have begun concentrating on the swift deployment of laser-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UCAVs). A study on integrating a 150 KW solid-state laser on the Avenger (formerly Predator C) drone is being carried out by GA-ASI with private funding.
Naval forces will use a combination of conventional crewed ships and unmanned autonomous systems in the future to have a devastating effect across the whole domain. China is developing extensive, intelligent, reasonably priced, uncrewed submarines with extended endurance for various tasks, including minelaying, surveillance, and even suicide assaults on enemy ships. Russia has built a new underwater unmanned robot that can hunt for underwater drones, place a charge on mines, act as a manipulator (with a nose attachment), operate as an autonomous moving mine, and act as an underwater robot armed with a pistole.
The global military robots market is bifurcated into human-operated and autonomous.
The human-operated segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.00% during the forecast period. Four combat robots and a control point mounted on a Kamaz vehicle would be part of the attack units. They can destroy the opposition's air defense systems, soldiers, armored vehicles, and helicopters. The robotic combat vehicle family, which includes three variants—light, medium, and heavy—is a new family of platforms pursued by the US Army. By integrating new weapon systems and payloads that will enable the platforms to kill targets, knock down renegade drones, and disrupt enemy communications, the Army is increasing the lethality of its fleet of robots. Since numerous countries already run comparable programs, the remotely-piloted market segment is expected to do well throughout the projection period.
Autonomous systems are also being tested for UGVs, USVs, and potentially warplanes in addition to UAVs. The Loyal Wingman's duties include single-mission execution and teamwork with other crewed or uncrewed aircraft. With a 2,300-mile range, the Loyal Wingman drone is anticipated to someday fly alongside human-crewed aircraft like the F-35 JSF in combat. The Loyal Wingman unmanned combat aircraft, created through a partnership between Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), completed its first flight at the Woomera Range Complex in Australia in March 2021. Similar initiatives are now underway in several countries, providing a bright picture for the autonomous market segment over the projection period.
The global military robots market is divided into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America is the most significant global military robots market shareholder and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.20% during the forecast period. The US military uses UAVs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, border security, search and rescue operations, and target attacks. For example, Boeing ScanEagle, AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven, MQ-4C Triton, RQ-21 Blackjack, and General Atomics Predator MQ-1 from General Atomics. Some of the leading UAV platforms used by the US military are Northrop Grumman's MQ-8 Fire Scout, Lockheed Martin's MQ-9 Reaper, and Lockheed Martin's Desert Hawk. For the development of the Next-Generation Multi-Role Unmanned Aerial System Family of Systems, the Air Force is seeking the integration of technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital engineering, open-missions systems, on-board edge processing, and autonomy (under project MQ-Next).
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.00%, generating USD 9,284.19 million during the forecast period. China has achieved considerable advancements in unmanned aerial systems during the past ten years, creating a variety of new varieties for its armed forces. The Yunying, Caihong CH-4 and CH-5, and Yilong (Wing Loong) aircraft are a few of China's UAVs. Additionally, it is the owner of low-observability flying-wing vehicles such as the CH-7, Tianying, and Yaoying III. The Tengen Company showcased armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the 2018 Zhuhai Air Show, including the TW328 and a sizable dual-engine TW356 transport UAV that suspends a sizable cargo pod between the two sizable engine nacelles. In recent years, the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) has also created the "Desert Wolf" line of autonomous ground vehicles. These vehicles can transport supplies and injured soldiers, run on caterpillar tracks, and are outfitted with remotely controlled weapon stations.
Robotics technology is one of the leading investment focuses for the United Kingdom's integrated five-year military review. In recent years, the British army has made significant investments in the research and development of drones, remotely powered land and undersea vehicles, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, there is currently a shortage of trained personnel in the UK army. The administration disclosed its ambitions to use technological improvements to close this gap. The UK government recently revealed its intention to have robots make up roughly one-fourth of the army's troops by 2030. The robots are anticipated to carry out unarmed operations such as surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as the delivery of freight trucks. The British Army is funding the creation and acquisition of autonomous ground vehicles to enable ground logistics for the troops.
According to Brazilian military officials, drones will bolster the region's overall border security efforts. Police departments now have additional tools at their disposal to hunt down criminals and stop potential crimes. Across the nation, law enforcement agencies are employing technology to increase the number of people and platforms they can monitor. The Sao Paulo state government began investing in police drones in March 2020, which used facial recognition technology to help identify offenders. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) set up Argentina's first secure border crossing in December 2017. At the La Quiaca border crossing, the business deployed C4ISR systems, linked ground systems with multiple radars, EO/IR, and added surveillance.
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