This report is the result of SDI's extensive market and company research covering the global soldier modernization industry. It provides detailed analysis of both historic and forecast global industry values, factors influencing demand, the challenges faced by industry participants, analysis of the leading companies in the industry, and key news.
Introduction and Landscape
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Why was the report written?
“The Global Soldier Modernization Market 2014-2024” offers the reader detailed analysis of the global soldier modernization market over the next ten years, alongside potential market opportunities to enter the industry, using detailed market size forecasts.
What are the key drivers behind recent market changes?
The soldier modernization market is going through rapid technological developments with major innovations in the fields of networked soldier technology and future soldier outfit modernization. The defense procurement agencies of various countries are constantly updating the various manufacturers on potential future requirements in fields of lethality, survivability, C4ISR, sustainability and mobility. This makes it absolutely essential for the leading military nations of the world to routinely invest in science and technology as well as research and development in order to ensure they maintain their technological edge. Given these factors, the demand for soldier modernization solutions will be driven by the continual digitization of the modern battlefield where many nations are fielding infantry who are capable of utilizing tools such as advanced navigation, as well as communication and targeting equipment. Technological advances in the fields of powered exoskeletons and fuel cells will also drive the soldier modernization market as leading military nations search for ways to minimize costs while deploying these technologies on the battlefield.
What makes this report unique and essential to read?
“The Global Soldier Modernization Market 2014-2024” provides detailed analysis of the current industry size and growth expectations from 2014 to 2024, including highlights of key growth stimulators. It also benchmarks the industry against key global markets and provides detailed understanding of emerging opportunities in specific areas.
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Key Features and Benefits
The report provides detailed analysis of the market for soldier modernization systems during 2014-2024, including the factors that influence why countries are investing or cutting expenditure on soldier modernization. It provides detailed expectations of growth rates and projected total expenditure.
A significant number of countries are investing in the development of their domestic solider modernization industry by establishing strategic alliances and technology transfer agreements with established global manufacturers. In addition to improving the indigenous capabilities of a domestic firm, this provides the foreign company with an opportunity to cater to a new market. Partnerships between countries that possess an advanced defense industrial base, such as US and India, aid the mutual sharing of advanced technology.
Key Market Issues
Followed by the recent US and Eurozone economic crisis, numerous countries around the world have implemented serious austerity measures on their defense budgets during the last two to three years. This has adversely affected the progress of many nations' soldier modernization programs which were underway as well as resulted in reconsiderations among countries with planned programs. The militaries have widely adopted troop downsizing as an immediate effort of cost cutting which is negatively affecting the economies of scale of the orders for new soldier kits as part of total soldier modernization programs. Troop downsizing can be observed among numerous major militaries including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and South Korea. Some of the major examples for defense ministries cutting down on their soldier modernization spending include the delays and scarcity of funds for the Land Warrior Program in the US and reduction of orders for soldier kits by France and the UK. France intended to procure 32000 FELIN kits for its troops which however were cut by 10000 kits and similarly the UK also had intentions to buy 35000 FIST kits which too are expected to be reduced considerably.
Reducing the weight of soldier equipment without compromising protection and combat performance is a key challenge for the soldier modernization industry. Modernization of soldier systems to protect, mobilize and empower the soldier has resulted in an exponential increase in the total weight being carried. The combined weight of equipment prevents them from being agile, mobile and effective war fighters and lives of soldiers are being put at risk as heavy lifesaving equipment is often being left behind. Defense agencies worldwide are focusing on sourcing and integrating the most affordable, lightweight soldier equipment and technology to reduce the burden to personnel. For example, the US, through its Nett Warrior program, is making substantial progress in lightening the soldiers load while still delivering next generation capabilities. The UK defense ministry plans to reduce the load on soldiers from 70 kg to not more than 25 kg under the Reducing the Burden on the Dismounted Soldier (RBDS) program. Furthermore, the defense ministries are funding research and development projects which focus on reducing the weight of equipment, power and communication systems that soldiers carry. All the capability areas such as lethality - soldier's weapons and ammunition; survivability and mobility - body armor, clothing, helmet and equipment; C4ISR - radios, wearable computers and optics have to be integrated to reduce the weight. The fact that in a 36 hour patrol, the British soldier will end up with a 12.25kg weight solely in power, suggests the potential for reducing the weight of power systems that the soldier carries.
The power requirement for the dismounted soldier is also growing at a rapid pace with battery consumption at an all-time high and with the industry looking at alternatives, with no major breakthrough in sight. The average battery weight carried by a US Army soldier in Afghanistan is 10lbs, although some soldiers carry between 26-29lbs of batteries based on their battlefield role. A study conducted by the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC) predicted an 85 per cent increase in the batteries required by a unit to operate in 2015. Another CERDEC study of discarded batteries in Afghanistan found 50 per cent of batteries had more than 50 percent of power left in them, highlighted an issue of wastage. Addressing power requirements is directly linked to lightening the load and reducing the logistic burden with the latter resulting in reducing the amount of convoy space required to ship batteries. Therefore, the focus is on increased energy density and reduced size and bulk, and that will be achieved through increased and improved integration.
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Most of the major militaries are undertaking their individual soldier modernization programs in order to upgrade their troops' capabilities in response to the evolving war scenarios including asymmetric warfare and fighting in urban environments. Major European countries including France, Germany, Spain and Italy are implementing their modernization programs in a total system approach; the new equipment is procured in the form of complete kits at a time. This type of procurement system has certain inherent disadvantages or weaknesses including rigidity and high complexity in programs and slower than expected technological progress which together result in program delays and cost overruns. Delay in a single module of the program affects the progress of the total kit delivery. In order to overcome this challenge, many countries are currently adopting a step by step approach known as the incremental system or a mix of the former two according to their requirements. The Canadian ISSP, Brazilian COBRA, British FIST, Australian Land 125 and South Korean Future Soldier are some of the examples for programs being implemented in an incremental or hybrid approach. In an incremental system the modernization is undertaken in phases which allow increased involvement of both, the firms under contract and militaries in order to continuously keep track of the program as well as making any necessary changes if necessary. Furthermore, this system is also expected to provide substantial cost advantages to the procuring agency by eliminating the need to invest huge amounts of funds on the program in a short period of time. Therefore, this system also reduces the risk of program failure up to a large extent.
The trend towards portable electronics is increasing in the military market just as it is in the commercial market. In soldier modernization programs, a shift is being witnessed towards smaller and lighter systems as the weight being carried by soldiers is increasing. Some form of electric power is required in electronic systems used by war fighters such as night vision goggles, personal computers, unmanned vehicles and smart munitions. Historically, the military's energy needs were met by a basic standard carbon zinc “D cell” battery or the AA batteries, the same technology powers a flashlight, however, the reliance on electronics systems as a force multiplier, is driving the demand for greater battery power. The shortfall between the energy required by advanced weapon systems and that which will be available could result in compromising the full functionality of the system due to lack of power. Developing weapon system's capabilities without the corresponding development of new technologies to meet the rising demand for battery power will increase the number of batteries to be carried by soldiers.
The modern fighting force is required to face new and complex combat scenarios including urban warfare and peacekeeping missions, as well as low intensity and asymmetric conflicts. Force protection is a prerequisite for mission success, irrespective of the complexities of the situation. Innovative solutions for detecting, reacting, countering and eliminating threats are required, which provide soldiers with enhanced situational awareness. The dismounted soldier faces a wide variety of threats including small arms fire, IEDs, and attacks from rocket propelled grenades. Surveillance systems should enable the remote control of video surveillance with daylight or infrared cameras; transmit, monitor, and record high resolution images for further analysis; automatically and continuously monitor an Area of Interest (AOI) to detect all possible Items of Interest (IOIs); provide visual detection, tracking, identification, and classification for the apprehension of illegal intruders; display Full Motion Video (FMV) of a selected IOI enabling an operator to identify whether it is human, conveyance or animal and filter background environmental clutter; as well as reduce the number of responses to false alarms; increase overall operator effectiveness and safety by providing a Common Operating Picture (COP). As a result, light weight adaptable systems which enhance the dismounted soldier's field-of-view enabling him to take informed decisions are expected to be in demand during the forecast period.
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