On November 24, London-based Technavio has announced the top five leading vendors in their recent global military electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) systems market report. This research report also lists seven other prominent vendors that are expected to impact the market during the forecast period.
For over a decade, major military spenders such as the US, Russia, China, Japan, and India have invested extensively in the development and procurement of next-generation airborne platforms, which can strengthen their security and surveillance capabilities. Also, the growing territorial disputes between countries has resulted in an increased focused on maritime warfare, encouraging naval agencies to upgrade the target acquisition capability of existing naval platforms with advanced EO/IR sensors and combat systems. Technavio expects that the global military EO/IR systems market will post a CAGR of 6.63% during the forecast period, reaching USD 13.19 billion in 2020 from USD 9.57 billion in 2015.
Competitive vendor landscape
The global EO/IR systems market is highly fragmented with the presence of many small and large vendors. The market is also characterized by the presence of well-diversified multinational vendors who compete based on cost, product superiority, reliability, and aftermarket service. The competitive environment in this market is expected to intensify with an increase in product portfolio expansions, technological innovations, and mergers and acquisitions.
“There is an increasing possibility of change in the dominance of key vendors as new entrants may offer a comprehensive array of economic electro-optical and infrared sensors. The possibility of new companies entering the market will be significantly supported by the changing requirements of defense operations, as well as the enduring push from government agencies to develop EO/IR sensors indigenously to avoid disruption in supply during war,” said Moutushi Saha, a lead defense analyst at Technavio.
Vendors like Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, with relatively greater financial and technical resources, can bring substantial changes in the existing EO/IR sensors, which may help them realize the development costs in a shorter time-frame. Small companies will benefit from the joint development efforts and can potentially compete with existing prominent vendors.
Top five military electro-optical and infrared systems market vendors
Through its cyber and intelligence, and electronic systems segments, BAE Systems provides C4ISR-related products and solutions. The company offers advanced EO/IR technologies that serve the diverse requirements of defense operations, including sensing, communications, and mission survivability. Its EO/IR systems are capable of sensing beyond the visible spectrum, as well as transfer data ensuring high-bandwidth with the help of its proprietary free-space optical communications technology. BAE System’s EO/IR systems include advanced image processing hardware and algorithms that are required to deliver an advanced surveillance system to defense agencies.
The company develops, manufactures, and supplies EO systems and support equipment for the global defense, homeland security, and space industries. Its product portfolio includes airborne EO systems, like airborne intelligence gathering systems, head-up displays, precision guidance systems, and wide area persistent video surveillance equipment.
The company engages in the development of advanced surveillance and imaging technologies that are used in remote sensing, EW, and maritime surveillance operations. It provides multi-sensor EO/IR fire control system, namely target sight systems (TSS), to the US Marine Corps, which are used to enhance real-time situational awareness of the Cobra attack helicopters. TSS consists of forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors, color display, on-gimbal inertial measurement unit, and laser rangefinder, which are integrated into a stabilized turret that can be mounted on an aircraft or helicopter with the help of aircraft interface structure.
Raytheon provides ATFLIR systems for the airborne platform, like F/A-18 aircraft. The ATFLIR integrates advanced EO/IR sensors that have the capability to locate and designate targets at over 40 nautical miles. The EO/IR sensors of ATFLIR use a common optical path and automatic boresight alignment that ensures precision in target coverage.
The company provides a lightweight EO multi-sensor, namely MIRADOR, for naval platforms, including small patrol craft and aircraft carriers. The MIRADOR is a fire control system that incorporates a direct-drive servo system and carbon fiber shell structure. It encompasses four sensors, including two daylight TV cameras, laser rangefinders, and IR sensors for surveillance and tracking applications.
The other prominent vendors are:
- CONTROP Precision Technologies
- DRS Technologies
- General Dynamics
- Israel Aerospace Industries
- L-3 Communications