Innovation will energize the electronic warfare systems market

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Research house Forecast International estimates US$27.8 billion will be spent over the next 10 years on the development and production of major electronic warfare (EW) systems.
In total, some 46 060 EW units will be produced, including electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems, radar warning receivers (RWRs), and electronic support measure (ESM) systems, among others, the company`s latest “The Market for Electronic Warfare Systems” report says.   
According to the report, from 2009 through 2013, 32 233 units will be produced, having a value of $14.6 billion. 
From 2014 through 2018, 13,827 units will be intro­duced to the marketplace, worth a total of $13.2 billion. 
With demand being driven by the needs of military forces engaged in two major wars and by the growing dangers along the world`s waterways, it is not surprising that higher rates of production are projected for the first half of the forecast period.
The top-ranked EW producers over the next 10 years, based on the results of this analysis, will be Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Raytheon, ITT, and Lockheed Martin. 
“While production of leading missile countermeasures systems has helped land some of these companies at the top of the ranking, others are leading in the development of all-important next-generation technology,” said Andrew Dardine, Forecast International Senior Aerospace & Defense Analyst and author of the analysis.
BAE Systems, with a $3.4 billion 10-year market share according to the analysis, has taken a strong lead in the effort to streamline EW capabilities into an integrated system-of-systems. 
In October 2008, the company was selected to provide its next-generation Digital Electronic Warfare Suite (DEWS) for future international versions of the F-15. 
And the system will be offered as an option for any follow-on procurement from current F-15 customers such as Japan and Saudi Arabia, in addition to being offered to new international customers. At a later point, DEWS could be installed on other platforms as well.
This offering from one of the leading defence contractors could not come at a better time, as the costs related to ongoing wars and a growing economic downturn have led to calls for government to tighten spending across the board. Military planners are being forced to demand that contractors offer more economy than ever before, Forecast International said.
Still, proven EW systems are in high demand. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of aircraft self-protection systems. Northrop Grumman was selected in July 2008 to provide its Large Aircraft IR Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for the British Royal Air Force`s air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft.
Under the terms of the $93 million contract, the company will provide LAIRCM system hardware and support for the UK`s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) program.
Yet another tanker program could also prove to be lucrative for LAIRCM. The US Air Force`s all-important KC-X tanker program will be seeking to acquire an IR missile defence system, and LAIRCM is a likely candidate.
Steady production of the LAIRCM system will help Northrop Grumman (with a $9.9 billion 10-year market share in this analysis) maintain its high ranking in the EW market. While applications for US Air Force aircraft are expected to lead the way, the system is also expected to be installed on a growing number of NATO aircraft.
Recent contracts will also ensure steady production of ITT`s ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated RF Countermeasures/Advanced Integrated Defensive EW Suite (SIRFC/AIDEWS) for the next several years.
Under a $78.1 million contract awarded to ITT in March 2008, the ALQ-211 will be produced for Pakistan`s F-16 fleet. And under a $57.2 million contract awarded two months later, the system will be produced for U.S. Special Forces MH-47 aircraft.