LWI - Land Warfare

Asia predicted to be largest AFV market in 2019-29 period

21st March 2019 - 10:38 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Hong Kong

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In its ‘Complete Market Report and Forecast on Armoured Vehicles 2019-29’ that was published earlier this month, Shephard Plus predicts that countries in the Asia-Pacific region will top the sales chart in terms of armoured vehicle procurements over the next decade.

Shephard Plus calculated that the global AFV market will be worth $33.3 billion in 2029, up from the current market of $24.3 billion. This gives a CAGR of 3.2%, with ‘growth driven primarily by China, India, Australia and Pakistan in Asia-Pacific, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE in the Middle East, the US, and a resurgent Russia in Europe’.

The report claimed ‘Asia-Pacific is the largest regional market with a cumulative spending of US$107.6 billion,’ an amount that just eclipses Europe.

Asia-Pacific spending on AFVs this year is estimated at $6.9 billion, which will rise steeply to $12.2 billion by 2029. These figures are dominated by China, India, Japan and South Korea.

China could spend $39.5 billion on AFVs in the forecast period. While no number breakdowns are provided for AFV production in China in the report, the country has been manufacturing MBTs, IFVs and APCs at a tremendous rate, and this is not expected to change.

South Korea is currently producing the K2 MBT as well as K806/K808 wheeled APCs as it modernises its AFV fleet. Japan, meanwhile, is focusing on production of Type 10 MBTs and Type 16 8x8 Maneouvre Combat Vehicles.

Three major programmes to see fruition in the 2019-29 period will be Australia’s $5.7 billion Project Land 400 Phase 3 to replace its M113AS4 fleet, as well as India’s $4.5 billion Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) searching for a new indigenous MBT, and its $2.8 billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) to replace the BMP-2 fleet.

However, Indian programmes have a habit of suffering serious delays, cancellations or budget blowouts, as the Arjun MBT project amply testifies. If the FRCV and FICV do progress, India could experience a CAGR of 12% up till 2029.

Nevertheless, Shephard Plus lists India’s main defence procurement challenges as ‘corruption, delays in decision-making and its Make in India initiative which has struggled to deliver improvements to India’s defence industry’.

Interestingly, the market report describes Pakistan as ‘fast emerging as one of the leading procurers of military vehicles in the region’. Spending could increase from $589 million in 2019 to $1.1 billion in ten years’ time.

Southeast Asia cannot compete with East Asia in terms of quantity of AFV procurements, but Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand are listed as the biggest spenders. The former is getting ready for production of the Next-Generation Armoured Fighting Vehicle in 2019, where the ST Kinetics platform will replace the M113 Ultra in the Singapore Army. In Indonesia, PT Pindad will soon begin producing the Kaplan MT medium tank.

Australia is currently implementing Land 400 Phase 2, which saw the Rheinmetall Boxer defeat the BAE Systems AMV35 to win the $2.3 billion programme for 211 vehicles.

According to Shephard Plus data, globally the largest market segment in the 2019-29 timeframe is wheeled APCs/IFVs, followed closely by MBTs and then tracked APCs/IFVs. MRAPs represent the smallest segment of the market.

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