The global market for shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.03% to reach $3.2 billion by the end of 2020, according to a new report.
Due to economic downturn, major countries like the U.S. and U.K. are witnessing economic difficulties, according to the report entitled, “Shoulder Fired Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft Short Range Missiles and RPG Market – Global Forecasts and Analysis to 2014 – 2020”. The US has witnessed budget cuts in the recent past and it is likely to continue in the near future – it has announced a budget cut of $178 billion for 2011-2015. Brazil, India, South Korea, China, and Japan are the new leaders in their region, due to their defence spending and their current national security situation.
Key players like Raytheon, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, Raytheon Company Alliant Techsystems (ATK), MBDA, and Lockheed Martin play a major role in the industry.
Late last year Forecast International predicted that manufacturers will produce 200 000 anti-armour missiles worth $9.7 billion through 2022. The company said that combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere have spurred anti-armour purchases by the U.S. and other militaries. Ironically, these missiles are not engaging tanks, but rather a host of other target types – from terrorist hideouts to unarmoured pickup trucks. Established market players have benefitted from this evolving trend, according to Forecast International.
“U.S. and Israeli firms still have the largest share of the anti-armour missile market,” said Larry Dickerson, Forecast International’s senior missile analyst. During this period, “Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Rafael will earn $2.8 billion selling anti-armour missiles to customers worldwide,” Dickerson said.
The market positions of these manufacturers have become increasingly intertwined. For example, Lockheed Martin has cooperated with Raytheon in the development and production – and marketing – of the FGM-148 Javelin man-portable anti armour missile system. The Javelin is the U.S. Department of Defence’s standard man-portable anti-tank guided weapon, and nearly a dozen nations employ it.
Meanwhile, new systems are emerging overseas. “Europe is working on next-generation systems to win back the market share it once had,” Dickerson said. These include the Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) and the Missile Longue Portee (MLP), which will replace MILAN and HOT, respectively.
For its part, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems is Israel’s leading anti-armour missile manufacturer. Against most expectations, Israel has slowly secured export production contracts for its anti-armour missiles and from an area once thought to present few opportunities – Europe. Rafael can count seven European countries as customers of its family of SPIKE anti-armour missiles, providing a stable production base for the company, according to Forecast International.
Companies are also working on new lightweight missiles that can perform various missions and demonstrate the blurring between different markets. “Missiles are slowly evolving, becoming more than just a weapon for use against tanks or aircraft or bunkers,” Dickerson said. “Eventually, the anti-tank missile market will cease to be an independent entity, becoming submerged in a larger strike weapons market.”