Precision Guided weapons were first introduced in the year 1943 by the Germans. A 3100 lb MCLOS (Manual Command to a line of sight) guidance Fritz X was used to successfully attack the Italian battleship, Roma. A precision guided weapon is a sub-set of the smart weapons market. The munition is used to acquire a target via precise geometric calculations. The weapon is guided via the use of a hardware system like a computer or a mobile system. Precision guided weapons unlike unguided munitions have a high hit to miss ratio. These weapons are curated to acquire a specific target via a pre-defined projectile motion. The use of this technology is anticipated to accelerate the lethality of a military force.
Precision guided weapons also reduce the collateral damage caused during warfare. The use of this technology reduces the instances of misguided fires thus reducing the number of battle casualties. Additionally, the precise nature of these munitions also reduces the risks posed to the civilians stationed in and around the battlefield. It is to be noted that precision guided weapons accounted for roughly 9% of the munitions used during the Gulf War. However, the number of successful hits amongst these acquired munitions accounted for 75% of the fired weapons.
The increased use of precision guided weapons has hereafter reduced the market potential for iron bombs. The increased focus on troops’ safety is one of the key factors behind the same.
On studying the overall market for precision guided weapons it is seen that the market is segmented by Product, Technology, Platform, and Region. The regional competitive mapping for this segment is provided across North America, Europe, APAC, the Middle East, and the RoW. The product-wise segmentation for this vertical encompasses tactical missiles, guided rockets, guided ammunition, torpedoes, and loitering munitions. The technology-based segmentation for this market includes Infrared, Laser, Inertial Navigation systems, Global Positioning Systems, Radar homing, and anti-radiation.
One of the key drivers for this market is the brewing geopolitical tensions within the global markets. As of 2020, missions like counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism have instated an increased demand for precision guided weapons within these global markets. As of 2021, the US DOD requested roughly USD 4.1 Billion worth of munitions (41,337) across 15 programs. As of 2020, it was anticipated that the US government would spend roughly USD 4.4 Billion for 34,454 ammunitions in the year 2021. On making a comparison between the actual and speculated value, it is seen that a decrease of 8.5% was witnessed in the actual defense spending. Moreover, a 20% increase in weapon quantity was also noted. In the year 2021, the procurement for long-range missiles plummeted within the US defense forces while the acquisition of short-range guided bombs increased subsequently.
In terms of technological development, the growth in the adoption of hypersonic missiles is anticipated to define the overall market dynamics. These weapons travel at a speed five times faster than the speed of sound (Mach 5). Their increased speed and precision help combat adversaries in terms of incoherent projectile mapping and reduced reaction time.