Smart weapons are guided munitions that posses the capability of striking a stationary or moving target with high precision. These weapons locate targets through the use of various guidance systems such as lasers, satellites and TV cameras. Since their invention, smart weapons have continued to evolve and significant improvements in accuracy, range and lethality are achieved by weapon manufacturers. The different types of smart weapons include surface-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, guided bombs, smart bullets, precision artillery munitions and electromagnetic pulse weapons among others.
The rising need for precision to minimize the collateral damage coupled with the increasing number of conflicts resulting in high defense spending is the major factor driving the smart weapons market globally. Governments in various countries such as the U.S., China and Russia are spending heavily on modernizing their military resources. Thus, a large number of weapon manufacturers have shifted their focus towards the development of smart weapons. On the contrary, the smart weapons market is facing various challenges such as the impact of arms trade regulations and high dependency on the U.S. government.
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Smart weapons are guided munitions designed to hit a definite target accurately. These weapons minimize the collateral damage in terms of destruction of civilian property and non-combatant casualties and also overcome the challenges in hitting moving targets over long distances. They are also known as precision guided munitions. Rapidly growing and modernizing economies are increasingly incorporating smart weapons in their military organizations and forces. These weapons use different types of guidance systems to locate targets. Some of the commonly used types include laser guidance systems, satellite systems and TV camera guidance systems. Technological advancements in weapon manufacturing have resulted in new innovations and availability of different types of smart weapons. These types include air to ground missiles, surface to air missiles, guided bombs, precision artillery; direct energy weapons and sensor fused weapons among others. The smart weapons market is currently dominated by guided missiles, which include surface-to-air and air-to-surface missiles.
Escalating demand for high precision in arms and ammunitions and the increasing urge to minimize the collateral damage has led to the high adoption of smart weapons. Further, emerging economies such as China and India are increasing their military spending in an effort to modernize their weapons. This surges the demand for smart weapons globally. A large number of programs are underway for the development of technologies that are expected to enhance the precision of smart weapons. Most of these programs are in the research and development phase. Thus, these ongoing technological advancements from key market players offer potential opportunities in the smart weapons market. However, government regulations such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) are posing a challenge to the growth of the smart weapons market.
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While North America has historically registered steady demand from the global smart weapons market, countries such as India and China are showing rapidly growing demand for smart weapons, allowing a faster growth rate for the global smart weapons market in the near future.The report further explains all the factors that restrain the global smart weapons market. The top concern for the market is the 2014 Arms Trade Treaty struck by the U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs. The treaty seeks to regulate and cut down the trade of arms in the global markets, which is expected to hamper the global smart weapons market.
Another possible restraint examined in detail is the overdependence of the global smart weapons market on its leading country, the U.S. However, fluctuations in demand from other leading countries have more potential to affect the overall stability of the global smart weapons market in the report’s forecast period.According to the report, the global smart weapons market was led by surface-to-air missiles in terms of weapon type, in 2012. The future of the global smart weapons market is expected to be driven by a growing demand for energy weapons.