The global airborne maritime surveillance market is growing and being driven by geopolitical uncertainties and obsolete aircraft fleets. In particularly, P-3C replacement programmes and new high-value maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and maritime surveillance aircraft (MSA) modernization programmes in Asia and Europe are fuelling growth.
This is according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, whose report “Global Airborne Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Market, Forecast to 2026,” finds that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Geopolitical and economic factors such as territorial expansionism, security of Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOC)/offshore energy assets, expanding surface and submarine fleets, non-state actor-led to conflict, and the associated displacement of population mandate the need to increase maritime awareness and interdiction capabilities and to keep the airborne maritime surveillance buoyant. The maritime surveillance market is currently in an upward cycle due to the US Navy’s P-8 procurement program that has annual spends of approximately $2 billion, and recent sales of P-8 into Australia, Norway, and the United Kingdom, Frost and Sullivan said.
Operators are also developing different approaches to the concepts of maritime patrol and surveillance through man-unmanned teaming (MUM-T), off-board integration of sensors, and multi-mission emphasis through roll-on/roll-off capabilities. Several nations are moving towards an integrated EEZ approach based on a layered surveillance architecture and multi-source surveillance assets such as satellites, surface fleets, UAVs, MPAs, MSAs, underwater combatants etc. belonging to multiple authorities. This Concept of Operations may reduce the need to field a large MPA/MSA fleet in the long run and may have a negative impact on the market.
The report says that the Asia-Pacific region, South and Central Asia will be the hotspots for MPA procurement. MSA procurement will be more fragmented and distributed across all regions. Smaller basic low to medium range mono prop maritime surveillance aircraft have been well received by smaller island nations and poorer economies.
Key companies to watch are Saab, Lockheed Martin, Airbus DS, Northrop Grumman, Tecnam and Boeing. OEMs like Boeing and Lockheed Martin have well established capabilities in ISR segments like maritime patrol and surveillance. They offer very capable platforms in the P-8s and P-3Cs but with defence budgets of many nations under internal pressure, many nations will be looking for smaller aircraft or more customisable solutions with capabilities that can be upgraded over time.
“Advanced operators are moving toward a data fusion concept that integrates intelligence in raw or processed form from myriad of sources to generate a recognized maritime picture that supports optimal actionable outcomes. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and contractors that offer solutions with a high degree of integration and open architecture-based customizability will be best placed to address future market opportunities,” said Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense Industry Analyst Arjun Sreekumar.
Strategic imperatives for success and growth in the global airborne maritime surveillance aircraft market include:
–Ensuring that MPA/MSA offerings are interoperable with a nation’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) inventory to enhance effectiveness in deployment;
–Designing solutions to address the requirements of all stakeholders in an Integrated Exclusive Economic Zone (I-EEZ) model;
–Providing roll-on, roll-off capabilities and plug-and-play solutions offering mission flexibility and options to upgrade and add more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities as time progresses; and
–Providing solutions that have open architectures to integrate a wide array of sensor, communication and mission application types.
“Many nations have requirements for advance MPA/MSA but the lack of finances defers the ability to procure en masse. Alternative business models such as leasing and staggered interest-based payment mechanisms could be offered to such markets,” noted Sreekumar. “OEMs that adopt a tailored approach for each target nation will gain a competitive advantage in a highly fragmented market.”