The growing competition for maritime resources has led to the emergence of old maritime disputes as geopolitical threats both for countries in their periphery and adjoining regions. The geopolitical threat profile that affects global maritime commons can range from piracy and terrorism to that of extra-territorial claims by contesting nations. These developments have shifted the focus of national security towards enhancing naval power to deal with both existing and emerging maritime threats diligently. Survivability and counter-threat capability of a naval vessel under a threat environment depends upon the active response of its radar systems. The radar plays a critical role in scanning, searching, identifying and handling targets. For over two decades, naval radar technology has changed a lot in its technical aspects.
Majority of the naval vessels used multiple radar systems with specialized functions for various missions. However, with the arrival of new Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, the radar technology landscape is shifting towards multi-role and modular naval radar systems. These radars are both scalable and can be used for multiple missions. While major naval powers are in the process of modernizing and upgrading their naval fleets with radar upgrades, there has been a delay in some cases due to budgetary constraints. The economic downturn over the last decade and the continuation of its effects in several regions has caused cancellations, postponements and down-sizing of many high-value defense programs. The delay is reflected in the reduction in the number of committed, planned and future investments in the critical markets across Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Europe.
However, the majority of the demand for radar systems will arise from upgrades of existing radar platforms with the shift from specialized radar systems to that of multi-role and multi-band radar systems. Surveillance radars will continue to account for the bulk of the demand over the forecast period. New acquisitions and routine upgrades of existing fleet of destroyers, frigates and offshore patrol vessels will create a demand for these radars. Most of these ships are used for frontline combat role and require powerful surveillance radars to handle primary mission requirements of searching, scanning and tracking incoming enemy ships and ballistic missiles.
APAC, North America and Europe will remain the most significant markets due to new geopolitical threats. Technology obsolescence in Latin America and tensions in the Middle East will drive the naval radar market in these regions.