The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global military laser systems market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated in the overall market. Based on technology, the market is segmented into the following: SSL, fiber laser, chemical laser, semiconductor laser, and Co₂ laser.
Technavio aerospace and defense analysts highlight the following three factors that are contributing to the growth of the global military laser systems market:
- Increasing demand for laser systems
- Growth in new technological innovations
- Increasing large-scale acquisitions
Increasing demand for laser systems
Laser systems play a vital role in military applications, especially in the battlefield where precise systems are required. Due to its high intensity, very low divergence, and high targeting accuracy, it can target hostile vehicles from a long distance. For instance, the mid-body design of APKWS can transform unguided Forges de Zeebrugge (FZ) rockets into precise weapons.
Changing warfare strategies have also led to the increased demand for laser systems. As defense forces have adopted non-lethal approaches, lasers are being used to identify incoming UAVs and issue non-lethal warnings and later destroy them with a missile in case of inaction. The missile itself carries a laser scanner and seeker for hitting the target to grounds.
Globally, the military spending on laser systems has increased significantly. According to IHS Jane’s annual defense budgets reviews, countries such as Russia, China, and India have contributed highly to the growth of the market. The US has increased its expenditure on military electronic and laser weapon systems from USD 55 million to USD 67 million during 2014-2016. In addition, by 2022, China is expected to surpass the US R&D spending on laser systems.
Growth in new technological innovations
Modern lasers and new technological innovations, such as lithium ion battery technology, are focused on boosting energy storage and increase in power density. According to New American Foundation, the lithium-powered lasers can be used to issue non-lethal warnings and to defend against small missiles and mortars. Further, weapons with precise aim and unlimited ammunition like HEL are also being developed to counter incoming drones or missiles.
In 2015, the US DOD spent USD 371 million on the sophistication of lasers. Modern laser weapons have been developed that can deliver shipboard defense at USD 1 per shot using existing battery packs. In addition, the Australian military successfully tested the laser-guided missiles which are capable of shooting all 10 shots perfectly within 1 meter of the laser spot.
According to Arushi Thakur, one of Technavio’s expert in research on defense sector, “Increasing demand and changes in warfare strategies have led many companies to invest and develop laser systems. For instance, Lockheed Martin developed a prototype laser weapon system named ADAM that can combat close-in improvised rocket, UAS, and small boat threats at a range of more than 3.2 miles and destroys targets within a range of 1.24 miles.”
Increasing large-scale acquisitions
In recent years, prime defense contractors have been keen to acquire laser companies to strengthen new developments. The robust development of laser technology from free space communication attract businesses to strengthen up resources. These M&A act as economic indicators of future growth. In 2014, an increase in technology had grown up to 19% due to M&A activity and expected to rise further in the coming years.
“Aculight, a Washington-based company, acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2008, is well developed in optical and laser warfare applications such as lasers for LADAR. It is also conducting research to develop fiber and semiconductor lasers,” says Arushi.
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