The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global submarine market for 2017-2021. The report also lists SSN submarine, SSBN submarine, and SSK submarines as the three major product segments, of which the SSN submarines, dominated with 40% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global submarine market:
- Fleet replacement programs
- Advances in undersea warfare
- Growing arms race among countries
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Fleet replacement programs
The average life span of a submarine is around 40 years, and prolonged usage beyond this time would lead to high maintenance expenses and risks. The replacement of old submarines with new ones offers multiple advantages in terms of high performance and efficiency. It is also considered a cost-effective measure for governments in the long run. Therefore, several countries have undertaken submarine development and procurement projects to replace the old ones so that they remain at par with their adversaries in terms of military capabilities.
There are fleet replacement programs initiated by governments of the US and Australia in this regard. The Ohio Replacement program for submarine replacement in the US outlines the replacement of existing Ohio-class ballistic submarines with new Columbia-class submarines. In Australia, a program called Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) has been initiated to replace the existing Collins-class submarines.
Advances in undersea warfare
There are increasing possibilities of undersea attacks as security measures become stricter around international borders. Countries that are situated along coastlines need to protect themselves from such threats. These countries are investing in building their maritime defense capabilities in the interest of national security. Of all the other naval platforms, submarines are used for ensuring a high level of naval defense. This is due to its capabilities to launch covert counter attacks and its ability to stay submerged for extended periods without being detected.
“Governments are investing considerable funds and technical skills to enhance the capabilities of submarines. Advanced propulsion systems, like Kockums Stirling AIP, are being employed to make the submarines quieter, which makes their detection nearly impossible. Improvements are also being made in enhancing the weapon carrying capabilities of submarines,” says Moutushi Saha, a lead analyst at Technavio for defense research.
Growing arms race among countries
Another factor driving the global submarine market is the growing need for countries to improve their underwater combat capabilities due to the number of conflicts involving maritime borders and trade routes. Countries are focusing on developing and procuring the most sophisticated and high-end military platforms such as submarines to gain or sustain military supremacy.
Asia’s largest defense spender, China, revealed plans to procure more attack submarines and nuclear-armed submarines. The country is also seen to be working on a modernized SSBN platform and long-range missiles. To counter China's development plans, the Indian government remains committed to scaling up the number of operational submarines. Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Australia, and Taiwan are also making significant investments in this domain. This move is expected to propel the overall market growth during the forecast period.
“The requirement for submarines is linked to maritime disputes and the need to ensure strong naval capabilities. Countries seek to project naval supremacy by investing in deterrent capabilities of submarines. They focus on investing in high-end technologies to enhance the combat capabilities of their respective armed forces,” says Moutushi.
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