Rising Above the Battlefield: The Booming Market of Loitering Munitions and Their Game-Changing Impact on Modern Warfare

Amsterdam, NL - April 18, 2023 -

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the value of loitering munition, which in spite of their existence and use for several years are now coming to the surface. The market is projected to grow to US$6.85 billion by 2031, at a CAGR of 12.6% in the 2023-2031 period.

The market is still at its early stages and can offer several opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers who consider entering or expanding in it. With UAVs being essentially the platform, the technological risk is constrained and most of the risks currently come from the limited capacity of the industries and the obstacles in the supply chain. As they are expected to be resolved in the next one to two years, the market will increase at a higher pace.

There are several trends and drives supporting the market’s growth. In the current great power politics and military force structures, long-range fires are key in modern operations. Until now that has only been feasible with the use or artillery systems and other precision-guided weapons. However, these have not always been organic to the frontline units but were assigned in support or operational command on an ad-hoc basis.

Loitering munitions are changing this landscape as they offer reduction of collateral damage, the ability to abort a mission and recover them, especially when it comes to missions in urban environments, affordability over precision-guided bombs or guided missiles, an ability to loiter over a designated area, as well as strike and ISR capabilities combined in one system.

Most importantly, they bring long-range firepower to the lower echelons of command, allowing them to operate more efficiently and independently. They are not expected to replace conventional and missile artillery systems, but rather complement them. In that aspect what the military is currently missing is established concepts of use of these systems. Apart from the US Marine Corps which has resolved these issues, almost no other military force until now has outlined its plans on whether they will be allocated to units.

Loitering munition will not only be used from ground forces. There are plans for their integration on naval platforms and aerial ones as well. They will significantly increase the range of coverage of these platforms. What is going to revolutionize the market are technological enablers, such as artificial intelligence which will allow the use of these systems in swarms.

The Loitering Munition - Market and Technology Forecast to 2031 study is an important tool for those that are currently in the market, those that manufacture Loitering Munitions and would like to expand their business, those that manufacture platforms and systems, as well as suppliers of parts. Although the market is at its first steps, it is expected to become more fragmented and competitive in the next two to four years.

IAI Mini Harpy

IAI Mini Harpy - Image Source: Israel Aerospace Industries

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Loitering Munition - Market and Technology Forecast to 2031