The airborne electronic warfare market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 3.5% during the forecast period.

  • The increasing demand for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems from various armed forces around the world is anticipated to drive the growth of the airborne electronic warfare market over the coming years.
  • Advancements in technology in the areas of enhanced stealth capabilities of aircraft, communication jamming technology, and advanced air defense systems are generating demand for air electronic protection and support measures in combat and non-combat aircraft.

Key Market Trends

The Manned Aircraft Segment accounted for the Highest Share in 2019

The increasing procurement of fixed-wing and rotorcraft by various countries, like India, China, the United States, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and Japan, to modernize their aging aircraft fleet for ISR and search and rescue missions are anticipated to generate demand for new EW systems in the aircraft. The installation of new EW suites in the existing aircraft, as well as the development of electronic warfare aircraft, are factors propelling the growth. China, in early 2019, developed new EW aircraft (based on Y-9 aircraft) with an additional antenna to gather information near the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Similarly, the United States is upgrading the EW suites of its various fighter jet programs. For instance, the Northrop Grumman Corporation was awarded a contract in November 2019 for a prototype project, under which the company will demonstrate an internally mounted electronic warfare suite and digital radar warning receiver onboard the F-16 fighter aircraft.

In November 2019, L3Harris Technologies Inc. upgraded the US Navy EW systems to protect Navy combat aircraft from incoming radar-guided missiles. Such initiatives from various countries are bolstering the sales of airborne EW systems. The higher cost of manned aircraft EW systems over unmanned aircraft systems is the major reason for the highest share of manned aircraft segment in the airborne electronic warfare market.

The North America Region is Anticipated to Dominate the Market During the Forecast Period

The presence of major military aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and a huge defense budget, the United States is currently the largest market for Electronic Warfare aircraft. With the aging fleet of aircraft as well as the need to maintain EW capabilities to support the future development of the Air Force, the United States is investing in enhancing the EW capabilities. The Air Force is currently upgrading the EC-130H Compass Call EW payloads, and it also has plans to procure 12 EC-37s during the next decade. Also, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Air Force procurement cost is estimated to increase from USD 28 billion in 2020 by 11% to USD 31 billion in 2024. This increase in the procurement of various aircraft and UAV programs is expected to generate demand in North America for the airborne electronic warfare market. However, the Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to witness the highest CAGR during the forecast period due to increasing military spending by the countries in the Asia-Pacific region owing to various territorial issues and political conflicts across the land and sea borders. This is generating a need for advanced air surveillance systems to enhance the survivability across the borders, thereby generating the demand for EW attack, protection, and support systems.

Competitive Landscape

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, BAE Systems PLC, Saab AB, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are some of the prominent players in the airborne electronic warfare market. In addition to the major manufacturers of electronic warfare systems, several regional manufacturers support various aircraft programs with their EW suites. The increasing investments into the development of sophisticated EW solutions can be integrated into many aircraft programs as well as provide better threat identification and countermeasure capabilities. For instance, in 2017, Leonardo launched the BriteEye EW survivability system at the EW Europe exhibition, which can detect RF threats and automatically cue countermeasures from an integrated countermeasure dispensing system (CMDS). The system can be integrated into light fighters, small ISR aircraft, and remotely piloted air systems (RPAS). With the introduction of new product lines, the companies further plan to expand their presence by supporting new UAV programs for ISR missions, thereby increasing their global footprint.

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