Smart weapons are guided munitions that posses the capability of striking a stationary or moving target with high precision. These weapons locate targets through the use of various guidance systems such as lasers, satellites and TV cameras. Since their invention, smart weapons have continued to evolve and significant improvements in accuracy, range and lethality are achieved by weapon manufacturers. The different types of smart weapons include surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, guided bombs, smart bullets, precision artillery munitions and electromagnetic pulse weapons among others.
The global smart weapons market is exhibiting a CAGR of 10.30% between 2013 and 2019. The global smart weapons market was valued at US$34 bn in 2013 and is assumed to reach US$66.9 bn by the end of 2019, as long as the accelerated growth rate remains consistent. This data is provided in a research report released by Transparency Market Research, titled “Smart Weapons Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2013 - 2019”.
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The rising need for precision to minimize the collateral damage coupled with the increasing number of conflicts resulting in high defense spending is the major factor driving the smart weapons market globally. Governments in various countries such as the U.S., China and Russia are spending heavily on modernizing their military resources. Thus, a large number of weapon manufacturers have shifted their focus towards the development of smart weapons. On the contrary, the smart weapons market is facing various challenges such as the impact of arms trade regulations and high dependency on the U.S. government.
Air-to-ground missiles dominated the market in 2012 whereas direct energy weapon segment is expected to experience fastest growth over the forecast period. Direct energy weapons operate at the speed of light and can cause high damage to the facilities, equipments or personnel. Thus, their demand is continuously increasing across different countries globally. Segments such as electromagnetic pulse weapons and smart bullets are small segments. However; they are expected to experience high growth over the forecast period owing to ongoing technological developments to enhance their functionalities.
Geographically, North America led by the U.S. and Canada dominates the smart weapons market. The growth in this region is attributed to high military spending and presence of key market players that makes the availability of weapons easier for the U.S. government. Emerging countries in Asia Pacific such as China, Japan and India and the rising demand from the Middle East for modern weapon systems offers potential opportunities to the smart weapons market in the coming years.