Radar still a lucrative market, despite economic woes


Forecast International projects that the worldwide radar market will be worth $52 billion over the 2009-2018 timeframe.

ts recently published analysis “The Market for Radar Systems” further projects that more than 15 000 individual radar units will be produced over the next decade.

The global economic downturn and a renewed interest in domestic policies in the United States may force militaries to cut spending. But according to William Ostrove, FI electronics analyst and author of the study, “the need for sensors will continue to drive radar sales worldwide. For example, the United States has begun a new effort to invest in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.”

Ostrove adds that as militaries increasingly use network-centric tactics, “sensor suites that include radar, electro-optical sensors, powerful computers, and datalinks will become more prevalent.” And because radars form a critical part of the overall data-fusion schemes of network-centric warfare systems, Ostrove says that they will continue to be purchased by militaries to be fused into overall intelligence-gathering systems.

According to the study, which is based on a review of 127 radar production and funding programs, radar systems will also be purchased as nations seek to upgrade their air defense networks.

A number of countries have already begun to replace their air defence networks with newer systems, including radar for air surveillance. In this regard, the US has begun a program called the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) to develop a new air surveillance radar to replace its TPS-75s.

The increased use of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) for battlefield intelligence gathering is also driving radar sales.

New technology is allowing smaller radar systems to be developed. UAV sensors have traditionally been dominated by electro-optical and infrared systems. However, these newer, smaller radars are opening a new market for the radar industry.

One of the key advancements driving current demand for radar systems is the development of active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology. AESA radars are being sold in increasingly large numbers every year.

“Australia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates have already signed contracts to purchase AESA radar from US companies,” Ostrove says.

He adds all entries in the Brazilian F-X2 and Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competitions include AESA radars.”

Sellers outside the US, such as France, Israel, Russia, and the UK, are also developing AESA radars.

Despite an overall projected decline in radar sales over the next 10 years, the market continues to be lucrative.

In terms of market leaders, major players such as Raytheon and Northrop Grumman continue to top Forecast International’s list of top five radar producers.

Companies that join them in the top ranks include Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industries, and the MEADS International consortium. Consortiums such as MEADS International and Euroradar continue to play an important role in the radar industry.

Pic: A Selex AESA radar developed for the Saab Gripen NG