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Global defence shift: report reveals $32.3 billion in opportunities in armed overwatch/ISR sector amid rising threats and evolving nature of warfare

13th September 2023 - 12:15 GMT | by Shephard Analysis in London


Middle East and African nations will continue considering crewed armed overwatch systems over uncrewed platforms due to their austere operation environments. (Photo: Paramount Group)

Amid escalating global tensions and a paradigm shift in warfare, a ground-breaking new market report forecasts a staggering $32.3 billion worth of opportunities in the armed overwatch/ISR sector over the next five years.

Paramount, the global aerospace and defence company, in collaboration with Defence Insight, will unveil the comprehensive market report on the armed overwatch/ISR sector during DSEI in London.

This report arrives against the backdrop of heightened defence spending globally, influenced by the Ukraine conflict, and changing threat perceptions in continental Europe and beyond. Armed overwatch and ISR platforms have emerged as indispensable tools in modern warfare with the drawdown of MoD/DoD inventories, fast-track procurements, and increased demand for readiness.

Steve Griessel, group CEO of Paramount, commented: 'The armed overwatch/ISR market report reaffirms our belief that effective defence solutions must be globally applicable yet locally adaptable. As an embodiment of this understanding, our Mwari aircraft offers portable and indigenous production solutions that many nations are now prioritising.

'Our presence at DSEI speaks volumes about Paramount’s strategic direction as we continue our evolution into a technology-driven OEM. This report underscores the need for equipment like our Mwari aircraft, which is a testament to our commitment towards collaborative innovation and global partnership.'

Key takeaways from the report

Armed overwatch platforms deliver cost-effective measures against violent extremism, provide critical ISR capabilities, and offer on-call close air support. Notably, these platforms are low-cost, reliable and can operate in austere environments – key features driving increased global adoption.

For operators, the choice between vertical collaboration or organic force integration, crewed or uncrewed platforms, and how to deliver the F3EAD force concept (find, fix, finish, exploit, analyse and disseminate) are all pivotal considerations in effective platform deployment.

Within a global air capability spending of over $476 billion, armed overwatch/ISR platforms constitute 6.78% of the market. Despite the relatively small market share of this niche capability, manufacturers offering these solutions will be able to close lucrative business deals since the number of options is limited.

The global armed overwatch/ISR Aircraft market is estimated to provide $32.3 billion of opportunities in the next five years. With uncrewed systems constituting the majority of future purchases, a minimum of 2,374 platforms are expected to be bought between 2023 and 2027.

With changing threat perception in continental Europe and beyond, increased readiness against near-peer scenarios will mean that traditional fourth and fifth-generation fighters will have very limited availability in counter-insurgency operations. This will lead to an increase in procurement of low-cost, close air-support platforms.

Middle East and African nations will continue considering crewed systems over uncrewed platforms due to their austere operation environments. Platforms with technology transfer offers will gain significant competitive advantages and are more likely to get approvals from developing nations.

Established/combat-proven platforms will likely remain the preferred choice to close capability gaps in the medium term. In contrast, long-term requirements and bigger scale programmes attract global primes and their national partners into major development projects.

Countries including Canada, India, Japan, Pakistan and South Korea are projected to have robust requirements for such platforms.

Spotlight: Paramount’s Mwari

The Mwari aircraft, developed by Paramount, stands out as a game-changing asset in this evolving domain. A two-crew C4ISR and precision strike platform, Mwari’s adaptability is unparalleled due to its open system architecture. This not only allows for the swift incorporation of new systems but also ensures mission flexibility.

'With decades of experience in asymmetrical warfare, we’ve designed the Mwari aircraft as a tool that is not only robust but incredibly adaptable, fitting the needs of modern militaries,' Griessel explained.

'Our Mwari aircraft redefines armed overwatch and ISR capabilities. Its portability and indigenous production potential allow for an unprecedented strategic alignment with nations, giving them not just a product but a sustainable security solution.'

Designed for hybrid ISR and close air support with a mission-configurable payload system, Mwari is designed for remote and austere missions, demanding minimal logistical backing. Embodying the F3EAD capability, Mwari is tailor-made for modern threats and Air Force needs.

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