The global airborne pods market size was valued at USD 2,948.5 million in 2019 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% during the forecast period. The airborne pods refer to an external pod structure which is designed to provide a better aerial detection, recognition, identification, targeting, communication, data linking, or self-defensive capabilities to an aircraft. These pods have compartments in which the different types of camera, navigation, reconnaissance systems, targeting systems, are being equipped for the better performance of an aircraft or to convert any normal aircraft into a surveillance or warfare aircraft.
Shift from traditional metal to lightweight composite materials to achieve higher fuel efficiency is one of the major technological factors impacting positively into the market. Rising defense budget, growing demand of ISR missions due to rising tensions & security purposes across different regions, boosted military aircraft upgradation & replacement operations, growing acquisition of military aircraft by defense forces across different regions, increasing demand for efficient & long range targeting systems, are some of the major factors acting as key drivers of airborne pods market globally.
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Factors such as lack of night vision targeting capabilities due to darkness and clouds and lower efficiency due to higher weight are some of major factors impacting negatively in growth of the market globally. Only one sensor can be utilized with one metallic pod at a single time as it has very less space inside it for the component to be equipped and its high weight.
The market is primarily segmented on the basis of Aircraft Type, By Pod Type, By Material Type, By Sensor Type, and By Region.
By Aircraft Type
By Pod Type
By Material Type
By Sensor Type
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Among aircraft type, the market is segmented into combat aircraft, helicopter, UAV, and others. According to Polaris Market Research, in 2019 combat aircraft was estimated to be the largest market followed by helicopters. Combat aircraft are the most widely used platforms in the aerospace and defense industry which in turn is driving the global demand. Aircraft such as F-35A have inbuilt pod components internally so that it creates lesser drag in air whereas in F-35B & F-35C variants which are used by the U.S. Navy, the pods are equipped externally. UAV segment was expected to be the fastest growing aircraft type during the forecast period owing to increasing acquisition and deployment of UAVs by different defense forces across the world.
Among type, the market is segmented into ISR (intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance), targeting, and countermeasure. ISR pods dominated the market in 2019 and is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period as well followed by targeting and countermeasure pods. DB-110 is one of the longest range ISR sensor which has approximately a range of 80 miles in day/night time, and it is also provided by one of the leading company UTC Aerospace Systems which was acquired by Collins Aerospace.
Targeting pods was estimated to be the second most dominant type in 2019. These are equipped with electronic warfare and electronic attack sensor which provides the capabilities of precision aiming and firing weapons to any target. In addition, factors such as bad weather and low light conditions have a major impact as a challenge in the market globally. Vendors in this market are trying to come up with new & innovative products in order to overcome this challenge to fulfil the market demands.
Among material type, the market is segmented into composites and metals. Composite was estimated to be the largest sub-segment in 2019 with a share of 90-95% and also, it is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period as well. In addition, composites are also expected to be the fastest growing material type during the forecast period of 2020-2026. This is due to increasing demand of lightweight components across aerospace industry which is rapidly gaining traction over traditional metals owing to their high strength-to-weight ratio.
In addition, increasing R&D activities in the development of lightweight components for achieving higher efficiency in terms of fuel, operational costs, and durability is another major factor aiding in the growth globally. In terms of metals, they have less durability and low overall output. Metal pods are usually used by the large sized aircraft such as tanker, bomber & cargo aircraft as they have large payload capacity, large weapon carrying capacity, and longer flight range compared to fixed wing aircraft due to its large fuel carrying capacity.
Among sensor type, the market is segmented into EO/IR, EW/EA, and IRCM. In 2019, EO/IR sensor was estimated to be most dominant and also it is expected to be most dominant segment during the forecast period as well owing to rising deployment in the ISR pods which are used for intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance for operations such as border patrolling and security operations. Furthermore, EW/EA (electronic warfare/electronic attack) sensor is expected to be the fastest growing sensor type owing to increasing acquisition of combat aircraft by different defense forces along with warfare capabilities.
North America was estimated to be the most dominant region in 2019 and is expected to be the largest region during the forecast period of 2020-2026. The USA is growth engine of this region as it accounted for more than 90% share in the North American market and more than 40% share in the global market in 2019.The reason behind its dominance is presence of largest military aircraft fleet and increasing military upgradation programs propelled by increasing defense expenditure of the country.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing region during the forecast period for airborne pods globally. The growth of this region is fueled by the countries such as China and India. China is expected to be the largest market for airborne pods in this region driven by acquisition and upgradation of existing aircraft fleet due to rising tensions in the region, which is likely to generate a healthy demand in the Asia-Pacific’s market. India is expected to be the fastest growing country in this region propelled by rising acquisitions of military combat aircraft by defense forces.
The global airborne pods industry is moderately consolidated with the presence of less than 20 players across the world. Top five players accounted for more than a share of 60% in 2019, according to Polaris. Some of the key technological requirements include reduction of size of components inside the pod so that the user might be able to put maximum components inside one pod. The vendors in this industry are continuously trying to build innovative product in order to fulfil the f’s demands. Companies such as Advanced Technologies Group, Collins Aerospace, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Company, Saab AB, TERMA, Thales Group, and Ultra Electronics are some of the key vendors operating in this market.