Why the Military Aircraft Pod Market Will Outperform Most Defence Markets in the Next Five Years

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28 July 2016 - 8:57, by , in Uncategorised, Comments off

Counterpoint is pleased to announce that our latest report is now available – Airborne Pods 2016. This new report represents original, ground-breaking research on the $2 billion airborne pod market. Over the past year, Counterpoint has worked closely with an industry professional who has many years’ experience in aircraft pods to create this report.

Why do a report on military aircraft pods?

While there are other market reports which cover the wider sensor market across the air, sea, and land domains, until now there has been no dedicated original research into the unique characteristics of the airborne pod market. Aircraft pods can be viewed as segments of larger markets in EO/IR, Electronic Warfare, Radar Systems, etc., for which comprehensive market analyses and forecasts are available. We believe that segmentation of these markets into airborne pod-specific categories has not been previously addressed, and analysis of the pod market is not readily obtained from the comprehensive reports.

How do you classify/define aircraft pods?

Pods can be classified by purpose, although these segments are beginning to overlap as payload technologies develop into smaller package sizes, resulting in the emergence of true multi-function pods.  For example, many pods initially developed for reconnaissance and surveillance have been upgraded to include laser-based targeting (range finding and/or weapon guidance) functions.  Nevertheless, for the purposes of this analysis, pods can be generally classified by a combination of primary sensor technology and fundamental mission. This report provides market forecasts and supporting rationale for externally carried aircraft pods in the following categories:

  • EO/IR: pods using electro-optical and/or infrared sensors, primarily for imaging, surveillance, and night navigation, and precision weapons guidance
  • Electronic Warfare/Electronic Attack (EW/EA): pods using high power RF transmitters and/or laser systems to jam adversary radar and IR systems, respectively
  • Optical & Radar Based Reconnaissance: pods using electro-optical sensors and/or radar systems for reconnaissance and surveillance
  • Infrared Countermeasures: pods using laser based or other types of active systems to disable threats from incoming IR-guided missiles; pods carrying only expendables (flares) are excluded
  • Other: specialty type pods, e.g. communication and data links, offensive lasers, etc.

External pods are carried on aircraft to provide or enhance specific capabilities critical to planned missions.  They provide a portable, quickly-fielded means to adapt aircraft to emerging requirements and threats.  Consequently, the market trends that drive the payload technologies and functions, and ultimately pod sales, are dominated by contemporary military needs, rather than the long-range strategic plans that drive the development of new aircraft or significant block upgrades of existing aircraft.

What makes the pod market so attractive?

The market for military aircraft pods has experienced an increase in demand over the last 5 years, and further growth is forecast through the end of the decade.  The five major factors contributing to this growth include:

  • A decreased emphasis on stealth and air superiority in recent conflicts, both of which are compromised by external pods
  • The extremely high importance of detailed imaging, threat detection and location, and precision strike capability encountered in recent ‘asymmetric’ conflicts
  • The proliferation of advanced Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS) that provide robust Anti-Access/Active Denial (A2/AD) zones (i.e. ‘contested airspace’) that restrict entry by opposing aircraft unless countered through equally advanced electronic warfare systems
  • Pressure on defence budgets worldwide that limit the availability of new platforms; pods offer a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade existing aircraft
  • Continued improvements in the key pod payload technologies – infrared sensing, sophisticated, self-learning jamming systems, improved imaging systems, laser systems, etc. – that lead to multi-function capability (e.g. wide area imaging and precision strike) and replacement of previous generation pods at a significant pace

Increased activity in the pod market will continue over the period 2016-2020, and most of the major pod developers and integrators – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Thales, Rafael and BAE Systems, among others – have next generation laser, radar, and countermeasure pods in the development pipeline.  The U.S. Air Force, and other services worldwide, recognise emerging needs for capabilities that are commonly added to existing aircraft via external pods, including:  wide-area high resolution surveillance, multi-intelligence payloads, video radar imaging, and multi-hyper spectral infrared imaging. Our new report discusses each of these factors, driving influences and trends in more detail.

Why buy this report?

In this report we comprehensively analyse the characteristics, drivers, influences, dynamics and trends which define the airborne pod market. This report provides a global market forecast for each pod segment (EO/IR, EW/EA, Reconnaissance, IRCM and Other), which includes market size, growth rates and analysis by sales channel for 2016-2020. Airborne pods 2016 also provides in-depth analysis of the global market by country and aircraft, alongside profiles of 17 pod integrators.

The intended customers of this report include:

  • Payload providers who deliver sensors, processors, datalinks, and other systems to the pod integrators
  • End-item integrators
  • Defence procurement agencies
  • Financial firms

Payload providers will find information on future market size, technology trends, and integrators (customers) for their equipment, while the end-item integrators will find information on technology trends and growth markets useful for their strategic planning.

Airborne pods is an exciting market, with strong growth rates forecasted over the next five years. While many defence markets are experiencing flat or low growth rates, we forecast double-digit growth in the military aircraft pod market. This report provides an in-depth examination of this market, identifying the most attractive markets, platforms, and sales channels for the customers who purchase it. Please go to our reports page to download a flyer for this report.

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