The Airborne Pods Market: Highlights
Airborne pods refer to an external pod structure, which is designed to provide a better aerial detection, recognition, identification, targeting, communication, data linking, and self-defensive capabilities to an aircraft. It is used to convert a normal aircraft into a warfare or surveillance aircraft. Previously, systems and components of these pods were individually used in different sections of an aircraft. For instance; camera, radars, and sensors could be equipped in wings, fuselage, or the nose of the cockpit of an aircraft, whereas sensors, radars, and their components, are used separately in some warfare helicopters, such as Apache and Black Hawk.
The Airborne pods market is projected to grow at a healthy rate over the next five years to reach US$ 3,167.9 million in 2023. Growing military expenditure, especially in the developing economies including China and India, an emergence of ISR due to security reasons, an increasing demand for advanced targeting systems, and rising military aircraft upgrade are the major growth factors that are burgeoning the demand for airborne pods in various countries. Asia-Pacific and North America are the biggest demand generators with a current combined share of more than two-third of the total airborne pods market.
Airborne Pods Market - Insights by Aircraft Type
The Airborne pods market is segmented based on the aircraft type as Combat Aircraft, Helicopter, UAV, and Others. Combat aircraft and UAVs are likely to remain the growth engines of the market during the forecast period. Rising global tension is compelling various countries to rapidly upgrade their defense capabilities in order to protect themselves from uncertainty and to further solidify their borders.
Major developed markets, such as the USA, freeze very high defense budget with a purpose to remain the leading market and to provide the highest security to their civilians, whereas developing economies, such as China, Saudi Arabia, and India, are continuously increasing their defense budgets to quickly advance their existing defense capabilities.
This is primarily driving the demand for airborne pods in the combat aircraft and UAV segments in the coming years. Additional drivers are emergence of ISR, rising demand for better targeting systems, and an increasing demand for lightweight pods, which are acting as the catalyst to the overall demand for airborne pods in these segments.
Airborne Pods Market – Insights by Pod Type
Based on the pod type, the market is bifurcated into Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance (ISR), Targeting, Self-Protection/Countermeasure, and Others. ISR is likely to remain the most dominant segment of the Airborne pods market over the next five years. ISR pod offers a wide array of advantages, such as precise identification, detection, and recognition of targets.
It also converts a normal combat aircraft or a helicopter to a surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft/helicopter by adding such features to it. Its capability is based on the sensors which are situated inside the pod. The larger the sensor and lenses of the camera, the larger the range of the pod. Whereas, targeting pods are likely to be the fastest-growing segment of the Airborne pods market, mainly driven by increasing military aircraft procurement and upgradation of the existing fleet of military aircraft across the world.
Airborne Pods Market - Insights by Enclosure Type
Based on the enclosure type, the market is segmented into Composite Pods and Metal Pods. Composite enclosure is likely to remain the more dominant and faster-growing segment of the airborne pods market during the forecast period. It provides numerous advantages over its counterpart (metal pods), such as good product performance, low maintenance cost, and excellent corrosion resistance. Composite enclosure further helps in reducing the aerodynamic drag due to its smooth structure. It is expected that there would be a continuous shift from metal enclosures to composite enclosures in the coming years.
Airborne Pods Market - Insights by Sensor Type
Based on the sensor type, the market is segmented into Electro-Optical (EO)/ Infrared (IR), Electronic Warfare (EW)/Electronic Attack (EA), Infrared Countermeasure (IRCM), and Others. The EO/IR segment is projected to maintain its dominance in the market over the next five years. Increasing demand for ISR pods and rising emergence of ISR due to security reasons are the major growth drivers of EO/IR sensors in the Airborne pods market. Electronic warfare/electronic attack (EW/EA) sensors are likely to be the fastest-growing segment of the Airborne pods market during the forecast period 2018-2023.
Airborne Pods Market – Insights by Region
Asia-Pacific is likely to witness the highest growth during the same period, driven by a host of factors including increasing defense budget of China, India, and South Korea, continuous upgrade of existing aircraft fleet, and higher investment in developing and procuring UAVs, due to rising tensions in different parts of the region.
Based on regions, North America is projected to remain the largest market during the forecast period. The USA is the growth engine of the region’s market and has the largest fleet of combat aircraft across the world. Rising military aircraft fleet size with a high focus on their upgrade is likely to further boost the overall demand for airborne pods in the region in the foreseeable future. Additionally, all the major pod manufacturers are located in the region to support the defense department and OEMs, helping the country to own more advanced airborne pods.
The supply chain of this market comprises raw material suppliers, pod manufacturers, tier-1 players, and end-users. The key airborne pod companies are Thales Group, Lockheed Martin Corporation, UTC Aerospace Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Company, Harris Corporation, S. G. D. Engineering Ltd. , Airborne Technologies, Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC, CPI Aerostructures, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. , and SAAB AB. Development of advanced pods and formation of long-term contracts are some of the most common strategies adopted by the major players in order to remain competitive in the market.