The net weight of carrying these modern equipment prevents soldiers from being agile, mobile and effective in the face of war, especially in difficult terrains, high elevations and fast-paced operations that today's troops experience, the weight on their shoulders is critical. Because of the equipment weight they often tend to leave the lifesaving equipment as it is the heaviest compared to rest thus making them vulnerable to dangers. The key to soldier modernisation market is to reduce the weight of equipment to the lowest possible, without compromising protection and performance, at the time of need. The market for soldier modernisation is expected to grow at a CAGR close to 3.9% and touch USD 15.25 billion by 2023.
Increase in worldwide security threat, more allocation towards research and development, low level of equipment with soldiers in developing countries, rapid developments in technology are the major drivers of the soldier modernisation technology. Increasing spending on military and defense by different nations aid these research and development. For an instance, in the US the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), is working to reduce by as much as 50% the weight of weapons and ammunition - two of the five heaviest items U.S. troops carry. Phillips is the ARDEC Project Officer for the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) program, is likely to replace the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The importance to this light machine gun is the 5.56mm cased telescoped ammunition that it fires. Instead of using a traditional brass shell, this new round features a thin plastic casing, reducing the weight by 42%.
Source: SIPRI / Mordor Intelligence Analysis
The equipment in the soldier modernisation market can be segmented on the basis of the purpose for which they are used, i.e, lethality, survivability, C4ISR, sustainability, mobility etc. The market is expected to be dominated by C4ISR segment, which will account for 38% of the market, followed by Lethality and Survivability with shares of 28% and 26% respectively. The top six priorities for modernization going forward are Long-Range Precision Fires, next-generation combat vehicle, Future Vertical Lift, the network, air-and-missile defense and soldier lethality. With the advancement in technology modernization of soldier, equipment is moving fast. For example, advancements in networked electronic and optic equipment help a lot like a wearable computer on the vests of soldiers can display the exact image from their sight on their helmet mounted optronics or their tactical PDA. With around the-corner sighting, they can see without being seen, and observe the enemy without exposing themselves to danger. The soldier digital radio delivers secure real-time voice and data owing to the C4 principle for soldiers. New protective gears light ballistic vest (capable of resisting handguns, shrapnel and knives), ballistic plate effective against armour-piercing bullets, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection, including assisted respiration, and equipment dedicated to crowd control can be used for protection of hands, knees etc.,
In spite of the need for soldier modernisation, factors like slow decision making and acquisition process and falling defense budget restrain the soldier modernization in developed countries like US and the UK. Geographically the soldier modernization market can be segmented as North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. Lethality remains one of the top priorities for Asia-Pacific countries seeking to overcome insurgent combatants, who are equipped with powerful assault rifles such as the Kalashnikov AK-47 7.62mm assault rifles as well as homemade bombs. Communications solutions will be the major focus of the armed forces in the Philippines under the soldier modernisation.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN MARKET:
MAJOR PLAYERS: BAE Systems Plc, General Dynamics Corporation, Safran Group, Raytheon Company, Elbit Systems Ltd, Ceradyne, Inc., ArmorSource LLC, Rheinmetall Defence, Thales Group, FLIR Systems Inc., Harris Corporation, amongst others.
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