Smart Weapons are Changing the Face of WAR

Market Introduction for Smart Weapons

Precision guided weapons as the name suggests are guided munitions that are intended to reduce collateral damage and improve efficiency. They accounted for 9% of the weapons fired during the Gulf war and the cumulative percentage of successful hits was recorded to be 75%. These weapons are roughly 35 times more likely to destroy a target as compared to dumb bombs or iron bombs. Some key types of smart weapons include Smart guns, Smart mines, etc as well as smart bullets. Weapons like smart guns are dated back to the 1970s, the functioning of these guns required a magnetic ring on the user’s finger. Identification methods like RFID and biometric grip are also used commonly by smart guns.

Laser guided bombs are noted to be another key segment within the Smart Weapons market. They are guided bombs that make use of semi-active lasers in order to strike a said target with higher accuracy as compared to a conventional dumb bomb. Roughly 28,000 laser guided bombs were used in Vietnam and it was noted that roughly 50% acquired the target. 

 

Segments for Smart Weapons and their impact on the market

 In January 2022, it was noted that personalized smart guns entered the US market and changed the overall market stance of the firearms segment. Personalized smart guns which can be operated only by verified users are now available within the US. The permit has been issued after roughly 2 decades of questioning the firearms regulations within this country. In Boise, Idaho, four-year-old LodeStar Works showcased its 9mm smart handgun to shareholders and investors on Friday. Law enforcement personnel are beta testing a comparable but simpler weapon developed by a Kansas business, SmartGunz LLC.

Smart weapons can also be labeled as computer-controlled munitions. Precision guided bombs are a common example of the same.  Ammunitions like smart bullets can change their trajectory at any given point in time as compared to conventional bullets. While munitions like smart mines can be deactivated remotely after a given timeframe. The US has invested a value of roughly USD 100 Million in the Gator Landmine Replacement Program. This landmine is poised to function via a system of sensors, i.e. if the adversary walks into the said area then the sensors detect the movement and send a signal to the recipient. The army personnel determines if the person is a friend or a foe based on which the land mine is detonated. The mentioned requirements are matched by a technology named spider system that provides 360-degree coverage a 2-300km communications capacity, and remote operational capability. The model also can self-destruct.

Market Dynamics for Smart Weapons Market

Army leaders have been researching the segment for networked landmines to probe further into this area of interest. The land mines can potentially be retrieved and reused when needed through satellite communication facilities.  The demand for smart weapons is to be bolstered by the brewing geopolitical tensions.  For instance, the growing conflict between nations like Russia and Ukraine, China and India as well as India and Pakistan is poised to bolster the demand for smart weapons. Secondary research suggests that Russia is presently falling short of precision guided weapons in its war against Ukraine. The factories in Russia lack the facility to keep up the production rate to meet the demand for precision guided weapons. The gaps between Russia’s demand and supply for precision guided weapons have forced Moscow to transport missiles from other parts of the country to Ukraine.

The US is also noted to be one of the nations with a strong presence within the precision guided munitions market. As of FY 2022, the DoD placed a request for 16,929 weapons across 15 munition programs worth USD 3.5 Billion. The sizeable investment can be owed to the growing market presence of competing nations like China as well as Russia within the Precision Guided Weapons domain. The US is also one of the key players within the trade segment for precision guided weapons. As of May 2021, the US approved the sale of precision guided weapons to Israel for an estimated value of USD 735 Million. The proposed sale is noted to be for Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMS), they are kits designed to convert unguided or “dumb” bombs into precision-guided missiles. The use of this technology will further optimize the existing firepower presently being used by Israel.  As per reports, the JDAM is not a solo weapon, it is a bolt-on technology that can be integrated onto the surface of dumb bombs. The key components of the system consist of a tail section with, a (body) strake kit, aerodynamic control surfaces, and a combined inertial guidance system as well as a GPS guidance control unit.

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