The Development of Guided Missiles and Smart Weapons

smart weapons marketThe catalyst in the smart weapons market is the global pressure to reduce civilian causalities during conflict. The concept of carpet-bombing entire cities or an area increased civilian causalities. World War I resulted in around 7 million civilian deaths, and World War II resulted in around 50 million civilian deaths.

In the case of conventional bombs, the proximity to the target and the probability to neutralize the target were directly proportional to each other. This also exposed airborne assets to enemy fire, and the risk of airplanes being shot down was very high.

Apart from reducing civilian causalities, smart weapon platforms helped in reducing the risk to assets. Smart weapon conversion kits, like the joint air-to-surface standoff missile (JASSM), enabled conventional bombs with fire and forget capabilities. The report titled Global Smart Weapons - Market and Technology Forecast to 2027  by Market Forecast covers the seven key types of smart weapons across guidance systems, technologies, and regions.

Guided Missiles and Bombs

Guided missiles are powered by jet propulsion or rocket engines, and guided missiles have the ability to change course midair. The FIM-92 Stinger is a man portable air defense system (MANPAD). The system uses infrared homing technology to engage its target. The FIM-92 has been operational since 1981 and is being produced in 29 different countries. Guided missiles can be classified as air to air missiles, surface to air missiles, air to surface missiles, and surface to surface missiles.

The use of guided bombs has also been on the rise since the World Wars. The cost effectiveness of guided bombs compared to the use of guided missiles is one of the driving factors in this market. However, the lack of propulsion systems also creates market challenges. The cost of a guided bomb system like a joint direct attack munition (JDAM) is around USD 20,000, which is one tenth of the cost of most of guided missiles. Unlike guided missiles, guided bombs are used for targets at the range of 15 miles. Around 66% of the bombs used in Second Iraq War were precision guided bombs. The key guidance systems in the case of guided bombs are laser, electro optical, and GPS. The Boeing facility at St. Charles manufactures around 40 JDAM kits per day.

Precision Guided Rockets

Rocket guided systems like the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS) are used for converting unguided rockets into precision guided rockets. BAE Systems have developed the APKWS to bridge the gap between unguided rockets and anti-armor munition. The APKWS uses a laser guidance kit to convert Hydra 70 to a precision guided munition. Lockheed Martin also has a similar product which is called direct attack guided rockets (DAGR). The guided mortar and guided torpedoes market is also similar to the rocket guided systems market, wherein individual programs have been developed to convert conventional platforms into precision systems.

Direct Energy Weapons and Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons

Globally, few countries have the capability to develop a direct energy weapon (DEW); these are predominantly classified as microwave, laser, particle beam, and sonic beam. A few countries which are working on DEW are the US, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The DEWs are used in both military and homeland applications. The personal halting and stimulation response (PHASR) rifle is an example of DEW which can be widely used in both applications.

Electromagnetic pulse weapons (EMPs) are used to trigger a short burst of electromagnetic energy. They are also called transient electromagnetic disturbance. These energies can be transferred in four different forms, which are magnetic field, electric field, electrical condition, and electromagnetic radiation.

The Smart Weapon Market from 2019 to 2027

Due to these trends, the global smart weapons market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period 2019-2027. The smart weapons report by Market Forecast also covers forecasts across different types of smart weapons, guidance systems used, technologies, and regional forecasts. Another key highlight of the report is the scenario analysis section, which highlights the various parameters which contribute to the market dynamics.

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