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AESA Architectures Catalyze Military Radar Market Growth to $21.5 Billion

by Asif Anwar | Jul 03, 2018

AESA (active electronically scanned array) architectures enabled using GaN (gallium nitride) and GaAs (gallium arsenide) semiconductor technologies will continue to underpin radar systems and serve to catalyze military radar market growth through 2027.  Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service series of forecasts covering the global military radar market in terms of expenditure as well as system shipments across the land, air, sea and space domains projects the global military radar market will grow at a CAGR of 4.6% over the 2017 to 2027 forecast timeframe to be worth over $21.5 billion.

Suppliers of military radar systems are increasingly implementing active electronically scanned architectures at the core of their product offerings highlighting advances in performance as well as lifecycle and total cost of ownership advantages over traditional radar designs.

An AESA radar comprises a large number of transmit-receive modules that feed and collect multiple signals via an antenna array. Potential advantages of an AESA architecture include high beam steering agility, very low radar signature when illuminated and extremely low side lobes. Being able to digitally control transmit-receive module gain, allows for refined power management which is vital for reduced or low probability of intercept (RPI, LPI) operation. Beam steering agility also facilitates reduced or low probability of intercept scan patterns.

From an operational perspective, the implementation of AESA architectures in military radar systems enables improvements in system reliability and reductions in total cost of ownership. Use on fast jet platforms is often cited as a good example of where these metrics are best exemplified with mean time between failures (MBTF) being improved significantly from the 300 hours typically cited for conventional radar systems. Coupled with “graceful degradation” whereby a radar system continues being functional even as individual transmit-receive modules fail means that aircraft can stay operational with repairs being effected alongside the regular maintenance schedule of the platform.

The core enabling semiconductor technologies for AESA architectures have typically been GaAs-based, but as the technology has matured, so the defense industry has looked to GaN as the core enabler for AESA-based military radar to take advantage of the increased power, efficiency and robustness necessary across land-, air- and sea-based military radar systems. Needless to say, this does not mean that GaAs technology will no longer be used, any more than it would be unwise to suggest that there will no longer be demand for vacuum tube based RF transmitters. However, GaN does arguably offer the added flexibility of being able to displace both GaAs (and other RF semiconductors) and vacuum tube technologies as the RF transmitter source in radar systems, which is why GaN is becoming a key enabling technology, with military radar demand for GaN forecast to grow at a CAGR of 19.0% through 2027.  

Strategy Analytics suite of military radar forecasts also predicts:

·       North America will continue to represent the largest regional end market, but the fastest growth will be exhibited by demand from the Asia-Pacific region.

·       Airborne radar will represent the largest market both in dollar terms as well as in terms of total shipments.

·       Early warning and surveillance along with fire control radars will account for around 76% of the global military radar market.

·       L, S and C bands will represent the largest market followed by radars operating at X-band reflecting the primary frequencies used by surveillance/early warning and fire control radars.

·       The total number of radar shipments is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% through 2027 to reach 1,607 units. Fire control radar and Early Warning & Surveillance radar shipments will account for 48% of 2027 military radar shipments.

·       The associated market for semiconductors and other components will grow from $2.0 billion in 2017 to reach $5.0 billion in 2027.

Strategy Analytics series of forecasts cover the radar market in terms of expenditure (global, segmented by region), system shipments and segmentation of the market by radar type (application), frequency, power and also outline the associated market for components and semiconductor technologies:

·       Global Military Radar Market and Technology Forecast: 2017 - 2027, http://sa-link.cc/1n8

·       Airborne Military Radar Market and Technology Forecast: 2017 - 2027, http://sa-link.cc/1n9

·       Shipborne Military Radar Market and Technology Forecast: 2017 - 2027, http://sa-link.cc/1na

·       Land Military Radar Market and Technology Forecast: 2017 - 2027, http://sa-link.cc/1nb

Feel free to contact me if you’re not a client of Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service and would like to learn more about this research as well as our extensive coverage of the defense sector and how we can support you.

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