The sonar systems market is estimated to register a CAGR of over 9.10% during the forecast period (2020-2025).

  • The procurement of new ships and submarines and the upgrade programs for the existing naval vessels are driving the growth of the sonar systems market.
  • The growth of the market can also be attributed to the rise in maritime trade, increasing oil and gas exploration, dredging and fishing operations.
  • Technological advancements may lead the countries across the world to procure advanced sonar systems for their naval fleet, and this is expected to propel the growth of the market studied in the near future.

Key Market Trends

Defense Segment is Projected to Dominate the Market During the Forecast Period

Currently, the defense sector has the highest share of all the segments. The increasing deployment of nuclear submarines around the world and the development and deployment of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for military operations has increased the threat for countries surrounded by water borders. The increasing political tensions over the oceans, like the ones in the South China Sea and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, have led to the countries along these water bodies to develop their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. To capitulate on the increasing demand for anti-submarine capabilities and sonar systems, various companies are engaged in the manufacturing of sophisticated sonar systems, such as diver detection, towed, hull-mounted, dunking sonars, sonobuoys, and other sonar-based surveillance systems for the global naval forces.

Additionally, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) have evolved into viable tools capable of revolutionizing and transforming anti-submarine warfare (ASW) through their advanced sensing capabilities. These systems feature active sonar systems that are highly beneficial for collection of data to detect, characterize and track adversary/enemy submarines at long ranges. Moreover, several nations have realized the potential security threats caused by foreign UUVs in their waters, encouraging them to develop low-frequency sonars to accurately detect the presence of UUVs with lower acoustic signature levels. With the rapid growth in the fleet of navies, the need for the detection of enemy vessels is increasing. This has created a parallel demand for new and advanced sonar systems, like 3D multibeam scanning sonars, whose potential for growth is much comparatively higher in the defense sector than in the commercial sector.

North America is the Largest Market for Sonar Systems in the World

Currently, North America is the largest market for sonar systems. driven by the demand generated by end-users based in the US. In an effort to challenge the maritime dominance of the US, China, in particular, has begun the manufacturing and deployment of various naval vessels. The augmented threat from submarines with lower acoustic signature levels and high lethal firepower has encouraged the US to focus on the development of advanced sonar systems for locating such submarines or ships at longer distances. The country procured various TRAPS and other DASH systems seeking to reverse the asymmetric advantage of stealth threat by developing advanced standoff sensing from unmanned systems.

With the increasing threats from submarines, the country is currently procuring next-generation passive and active sonar receivers for equipping their surface warships. For instance, In June 2019, U.S. Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) experts have ordered towed-array surface ship sonar systems to enable their warships to track quiet enemy submarines present at different ocean depths. The Naval Sea Systems Command announced a USD 29.3 million contract modification to Lockheed Martin Corp. Rotary and Mission Systems segment to build TB-37 Multi-Function Towed Array (MFTA) sonar systems for Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers, the Littoral Combat Ship, and Zumwalt-class land-attack destroyer. Earlier, in July 2018, the US Navy also ordered the TB-29X advanced towed-array sonar systems from L-3 Chesapeake Sciences Corp. Canada is also upgrading its naval warfare capabilities. The country is also planning to procure naval ships in the years to come. In addition, the country is also upgrading the capabilities of the sonar systems aboard several of its warships. Additionally, the increasing number of oceanographic studies under the sea by various universities and organizations in the region has led to an increase in the procurement of sonars in the commercial segment.

Competitive Landscape

Companies, such as Lockheed Martin Corporation, Thales Group, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Atlas Elektronik Gmbh, Aselsan AS, and Kongsberg Maritime, are some of the prominent players in the market studied. The sonar systems market is highly fragmented, with a wide range of players providing various types of sonar systems, like single-beam sonar systems, multi-beam sonar systems, full-circle scanning systems, etc., for applications, like fishing, deep-sea exploration, shallow water detection, enemy detection, tracking and for detecting attacking torpedos and missiles. Chinese manufacturers are some of the largest market players, sheerly due to a large number of military ships and submarines that are built in the country, which is trying to be on par with the United States and its allies, in the Pacific Ocean bordering Chinese territory. Local companies, supported by defense budgets and government funding are also developing indigenous systems, in order to reduce dependency on outsiders, while adding a layer of secrecy on capability and keeping funds within the country. Product innovations by various global and regional companies have increased the competition in the market, and smaller players are expected to strengthen their presence in the market through innovations during the forecast period.

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