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DSEI 2019: Market for air defence set to skyrocket

12th September 2019 - 09:00 GMT | by Ilker Aktaşoğlu in London

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In a new forecast briefed on 11 September at DSEI Defence Insight predicted that the market for air defence and artillery systems over the next decade will be worth in the region of $160 billion globally.

According to director of analysis at Shephard, Matt Smith, the forecast is based on tracking some 220 procurement programmes currently under way or planned during the period.

Smith went on to explain that four sectors in particular were expected to experience significant spend during the period. ‘It is the three air defence segments and self-propelled artillery that are the real leaders,’ he stated.

‘Really that reflects a trend that is evident across defence – a perception that the threat environment has become much more focused on preparing for high-intensity conventional warfare with this particularly evident in regions that feel threatened by the growing power of China and concern about Russia, particularly in Europe,’ Smith added.

In terms of the air defence market, the Defence Insight forecast states that the key drivers are the fielding of advanced fourth and fifth generation fighter jets, sophisticated unmanned aircraft and high-tech missile and ballistic technologies. In Asia, China is introducing the J-20, what it refers to as a next generation aircraft and is developing its own F-35-alike, the FC or J-31.

In the artillery market, Europe is the largest region followed by Asia and then the US. In the latter, the dynamic is different to that of the other regions with far fewer, but much more expensive projects.

The largest project in terms of modernisation and recapitalisation is the development of the M109 system through the Paladin Integrated Management project. It’s currently budgeted for over $3 billion until the mid-2024s, with the US Department of Defense expecting it to cost another $3.4 billion through to completion.

In terms of what is driving the trends in the artillery market Smith stated: ‘Our own data shows that the number of new programmes being initiated certainly seems to have trended upwards in recent years, based on when the first delivery of new systems has occurred. 

‘A view that we have heard a lot is that the move away from counter-insurgency or asymmetric type conflicts in Europe and Asia has increased the need for longer range systems to counter adversaries with their own long-range capability.’

Part of this is that there have been advances in key technology areas that mean older systems are no longer competitive in modern high-intensity conflict the forecast suggests.

Mobility is one area, with the ability to rapidly move and fire seen as crucial to survivability. Modern tracked platforms also take advantage of enhanced armour.

Finally, underpinning technologies like automation – for areas like fire control, navigation, laying and ammunition reloading are also critical.

This is primarily to allow for more fire missions through more efficient processes, but also reduces the number of a personnel needed to operate a vehicle.

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