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Ground Defense Systems: Utilizing Unconventional Tech for Advanced Combat and International Border Security

Apr 30th 2020 at 2:00 AM

Over the last decade, the defense industry has been witnessing a massive transformation owing to the increasing development of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning (MI). The increased need for efficiency and accuracy, rising labor cost, and unavailability of skilled labor have shifted the focus of enterprises from conventional defense system to a modernized artificial intelligence-based defense system. The market is undergoing a significant transformation with varied applications of autonomous vehicles for various roles in defense, such as in explosive ordinance disposal, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, mine clearance, combat support, and firefighting.

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In recent years, there have been significant developments in the modernization of ground defense systems, which increase the mobility, survivability, and lethality of ground defense vehicles. This is primarily due to the rising inflow of defense budgets globally on account of the increasing extent of conflicts among various countries. In defense and security application, the ground defense systems are used for combat, logistic & transportation, search & rescue explosive ordinance disposal, intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance, mine clearance, firefighting, engineering, and recovery support.

Ground defense vehicles such as main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, armored personnel carrier, mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, tactical armored vehicles, light utility vehicles, amphibious and military engineering vehicles are the major types of vehicles which comprise different kinds of electronic and mechanical systems for optimum operation. These vehicles are capable of handling various activities that include combat capabilities, cognitive capabilities, sensing emotion, intelligence, and surveillance & reconnaissance.

Due to the issues related to increasing land disputes, migration, and smuggling, several countries are obligated to focus on the need for enhanced and strengthened border security. Ultimately, this has led to a rise in the demand for advanced combat and support vehicles, which provide enhanced situational awareness to the soldiers so as to have a competitive edge over the opponents. With recent technological developments in AI and ML, manned and unmanned ground vehicles are becoming available at a reliable cost.

On account of growing cross-border conflicts, terrorist activities, and NATO’s defense spending standard, the government and defense forces are focusing on raising defense budget for procurement of advanced combat and support system along with up-gradation of old fleets, resulted in the demand for main battle tanks, armored personnel carrier, light tactical vehicle/multi-purpose armored vehicle and amphibious vehicles, among others is growing substantially. Countries such as the U.S., U.K., China, India, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, are actively engaging in new production contracts with private and public defense equipment manufacturing companies.

The global ground defense system industry is one of the most competitive sectors, with the leading players actively competing against each other to gain a more significant share in the industry. The competitive landscape of the ground defense system industry exhibits an inclination toward emerging strategies and developments by market players.

The prominent players in the ground defense system market adopted strategies of product launches, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships and collaborations, contracts, and other strategies to expand their business. The companies are also involved in some of the other developments that include demonstration, integration, and business expansion. Due to the intensive competition, the ground defense system industry requires manufacturers to innovate and develop cost-effective products continuously. The predominant companies in the sector and the new entrants are aiming to develop next-generation solutions in adherence to the existing and forthcoming industry standards for various end-user applications. The market is likely to proliferate with innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and autonomous unmanned vehicles, which offer longer endurance and higher efficiency.

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The increased revenue generated by the manned and unmanned ground vehicles is due to the high demand for the modernization of main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and new procurements of armored personnel carriers and UGVs for defense and security applications. Main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are mainly used for combat applications, whereas unmanned ground vehicles are usually used for navigation through tough terrains that are both unsafe and toxic. Unmanned ground vehicles are robotic vehicles that are used in complex environments of military operations, explosives handling, search operations, and intelligence gathering, among others.

The key players that are actively participating in the ground defense system market include BAE Systems (U.K.), QinetiQ (U.K.), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel), IVECO DEFENCE VEHICLES (U.K.), Denel Land Systems (South Africa), Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.), Lockheed Martin Corporation (U.S.), Navistar Defense (U.S.), Oshkosh Defense (U.S.), Rheinmetall AG (Germany), Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel), General Dynamics Corporation (U.S.), Harris Corporation (U.S.), Clearpath Robotics Inc. (Canada), FLIR Systems Inc. (U.S.), and Thales Group (France), among others.

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