Thermal Countermeasure Market - A Global and Regional Analysis: Focus on Platform, Product Type, Integration Type, and Country - Analysis and Forecast, 2023-2033

Jan 2024| BIS914A| BIS Research

Report Highlights

The Thermal Countermeasure Market Expected to Reach $24.41 Billion by 20233.

Introduction of Thermal Countermeasure

Thermal countermeasures represent a key breakthrough in modern fighting and defensive methods, notably in military and security situations. These countermeasures are intended to disguise or change the heat signatures of vehicles, equipment, or individuals to avoid detection by infrared (IR) sensors or targeting systems, which are widely utilized in contemporary guided weaponry and surveillance equipment. The emergence of thermal countermeasures was prompted by the growing dependence on infrared technology in military applications, which necessitated the development of efficient means to oppose IR detection and targeting. As a result, different techniques and materials that may absorb, reflect, or disperse heat have been developed, decreasing the efficiency of infrared imaging equipment.

Market Introduction

Thermal countermeasures have an interesting history that is connected with the growth of warfare and technology. The thermal countermeasure market witnessed growth in 2022 and was valued at $12.63 billion in 2022, whereas the market gained more traction in 2023 and was valued at $13.41 billion.

Additionally, these defenses are intended to keep military vehicles and aircraft safe from heat-seeking missiles and infrared-guided weaponry. Thermal countermeasures have been developed since the mid-20th century when heat-seeking missiles became a substantial concern. Flares were deployed by airplanes as crude countermeasures during World War II to confuse enemy heat-seeking missiles. However, more effective thermal countermeasure systems were not developed until the Cold War era. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were at the forefront of this technical race, continuously increasing their infrared countermeasure capabilities to outmaneuver advancing missile technology.

Additionally, the emergence of improved flare systems and infrared jamming devices in the 1970s was an important turning point in the history of thermal countermeasures. These advancements enabled military aircraft to fire flares that radiated high heat and light, deflecting heat-seeking missiles away from their intended targets. Infrared jamming devices further affected these missiles' guidance systems by producing infrared signals that confused and misled them. These countermeasures were crucial in securing the survivability of military aircraft in hostile areas against the rising threat of infrared-guided armament.

Furthermore, due to the rising complexity of opposing thermal imaging equipment, improvements in thermal countermeasures have become increasingly important in military applications. Thermal countermeasures include a variety of devices meant to deceive or reduce the efficacy of thermal sensors and infrared detection systems. One major advancement is the use of multispectral camouflage materials, which can actively adjust to ambient temperatures and blend in with the surrounding environment. These materials are intended to decrease the thermal signature of military vehicles, equipment, and soldiers, making them less detectable by hostile thermal sensors. This technique considerably improves the survivability of military troops in dangerous circumstances by minimizing their exposure to thermal surveillance.

Industrial Impact

Thermal countermeasures are important in military applications, especially in current combat settings where powerful thermal imaging technology is a typical element of enemy surveillance and targeting systems. These countermeasures include a variety of strategies and technology aimed at tricking or deceiving thermal imaging sensors, thereby protecting military troops and equipment. The invention and fabrication of specific materials and coatings that are particularly effective at dispersing or diverting thermal signatures is one key industrial consequence of these countermeasures. These materials are frequently utilized in the manufacturing of military vehicles, aircraft, and military uniforms to limit heat emissions and the likelihood of detection by adversary thermal sensors.

Additionally, the industrial element of thermal countermeasures includes the creation of complex thermal decoys and flares. These countermeasures mimic the heat signatures of real-world military equipment, diverting adversary attention and fire away from the actual targets. Cutting-edge technology and materials are used in the manufacture of these decoy systems, propelling breakthroughs in the military sector. Thermal countermeasures' industrial significance is also seen in the study and development of sophisticated camouflage techniques. Thermal camouflage clothes and equipment are used by military personnel to successfully blend into their environment, making it harder for enemies to identify their heat signatures. These advancements have consequences that extend beyond the military field, as they may influence the development of more energy-efficient and thermally optimized civilian technology, affecting sectors ranging from aircraft to consumer electronics. Subsequently, the industrial influence of thermal countermeasures in military applications includes materials, decoys, camouflage, electronic warfare, and stealth technologies, promoting innovation and growth in a variety of industries.

Market Segmentation:

Segmentation 1: by Platform

  • Military Aircraft
    • Fixed Wing
    • Rotary Wing (Military Helicopters)
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
    • Small UAV
    • Tactical UAV

Military Aircraft Segment to Dominate the Global Thermal Countermeasure Market (by Platform)

The military aircraft segment dominated the thermal countermeasures market and generated a revenue of $10.61 billion in 2022. An increase in military modernization programs by the defense industry is driving the growth of the thermal countermeasures industry.

Thermal countermeasures provide an escape route and add safety to the aircraft, fighter jet, and UAV in case of firefight engagement, allowing for quick evading and maneuvering. This degree of safety is critical for properly detecting and confusing incoming missiles. To offer extensive coverage, modern thermal countermeasures frequently come in the form of flares, electronic countermeasures that possess the ability to jam the adversary weapons, allowing them to follow threats across long distances and in all situations, including high altitudes.

Segmentation 2: by Product Type

  • Active
    • Jammer
    • Flare Dispenser
    • Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM)
    • Others
  • Passive
    • IR Supressor

Active Segment to Witness the Highest Growth between 2023 and 2033

The active thermal countermeasures segment dominated the global thermal countermeasures market (by product type) in 2023, with $10.50 billion in terms of revenue due to the capability of providing target evasion capabilities, which are of utmost importance in terms of firefight encounters and evasion.

Additionally, the active thermal countermeasures segment includes jammers, flare dispensers, directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM), and other segments. These platforms provide solutions for thermal countermeasure capabilities along with other military-related operations.

Segmentation 3: by Integration Type

  • Fuselage
  • Wing
  • Nose

Segmentation 4: by Region

  • North America - U.S. and Canada
  • Europe - U.K., Germany, France, Russia, and Rest-of-Europe
  • Asia-Pacific - Japan, India, China, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific
  • Rest-of-the-World - Middle East and Africa and Latin America

Asia-Pacific was the highest-growing market among all the regions, registering a CAGR of 6.92%. Europe is anticipated to gain traction in terms of thermal countermeasure adoption owing to the growing demand for military modernization programs as well as cross-border tensions in the region. Moreover, favorable government policies are also expected to support the growth of the thermal countermeasures market in North America and Europe during the forecast period.

In North America, the U.S. is anticipated to show the highest growth in the thermal countermeasures market among other countries in North America. U.S. is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.42%. The U.S. rise in the thermal countermeasures market is mostly because the country is one of the world's largest spenders on weapons, defense systems, and other military technology. The region is home to some of the world's most recognized manufacturers of thermal countermeasures, which motivates enterprises in the region to continually meet the market's expanding demand.

Recent Developments in the Thermal Countermeasure Market

  • In November 2023, Elbit Systems Ltd. signed a contract with Airbus Defense and Space to provide direct infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) and infrared (IR) missile warning systems for Canada's MRTT A330 refueling aircraft. The deal would be completed over a five-year timeframe.
  • In June 2023, BAE Systems signed a contract worth $26.7 million with the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Aircraft Prototyping Systems Division (NAWCAD) task order to install, integrate, and test the Department of the Navy (DoN) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system on KC-130J aerial transport and refueling aircraft. By addressing modern infrared missile system threats, the DoN LAIRCM advanced missile warning system increases aircraft capabilities and survivability.
  • In May 2023, Northrop Grumman, as a part of its existing contract with the U.S. Air Force, continued to work on developing new Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems for the U.S. Air Force. The work was awarded to Northrop Grumman as part of an existing indeterminate delivery, indefinite quantity contract.

Demand – Drivers, Challenges, and Opportunities

Market Demand Drivers: Need For Advanced Missile Defense Capabilities in Airborne Platforms

The global thermal countermeasure market is expanding rapidly, notably in the field of enhanced missile defense capabilities in aerial platforms, due to a variety of causes. One of the key factors is the global increase in geopolitical tensions and security risks. The demand for sophisticated countermeasures has increased as governments attempt to strengthen their defensive capabilities against a variety of airborne threats, including upgraded missile systems. These countermeasures are critical for detecting, tracking, and disarming incoming threats, giving the aircraft a strategic edge in aerial combat scenarios.

Market Challenges: Rise in Possession of IR-Guided Missiles by Adversaries

Potential adversaries' increasing acquisition of infrared (IR)-guided missiles poses a challenge for thermal countermeasure businesses. This tendency needs ongoing innovation and adaptability on the part of these businesses. As opponents develop increasingly powerful IR-guided missiles, the effectiveness of existing thermal countermeasures is constantly challenged. This dynamic produces a never-ending arms race in which countermeasure makers must constantly upgrade their products to stay ahead. Companies must invest extensively in R&D to guarantee that their countermeasures can effectively defeat the increasingly complex missile threats.

Market Opportunities: Emergence of Next-Generation Fighter Jets

The introduction of next-generation fighter planes provides a substantial revenue potential for thermal countermeasure firms. These cutting-edge aircraft, outfitted with cutting-edge technology, need equally sophisticated countermeasures to ensure their efficacy and survivability in combat conditions. The growing nature of aerial warfare involves the development of improved thermal countermeasures, with an increased emphasis on stealth and precision. This provides a thriving market for businesses that specialize in such technology.

How can this report add value to an organization?

Product/Innovation Strategy: The product segment helps the reader understand the different types of products available for deployment and their potential globally. Moreover, the study provides the reader with a detailed understanding of the thermal countermeasures market on the basis of platform (military aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)), product type (active and passive), and integration type (fuselage, wing, and nose).

Growth/Marketing Strategy: The thermal countermeasures market has seen major development by key players operating in the market, such as business expansion, partnership, collaboration, and joint venture. The favored strategy for the companies has been partnerships and contracts to strengthen their position in the thermal countermeasures market. For instance, in February 2023, Leonardo U.K., a branch of Leonardo S.p.A., signed a partnership with BAE Systems under which both companies would work in conjunction to develop a product that would combine the AN/AAR-57 common missile warning system (CMWS) from BAE Systems with Leonardo's Miysis directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system.

Competitive Strategy: Key players in the thermal countermeasures market analyzed and profiled in the study involve major thermal countermeasures offering companies providing thermal countermeasures for the purpose. Moreover, a detailed competitive benchmarking of the players operating in the thermal countermeasures market has been done to help the reader understand how players stack against each other, presenting a clear market landscape. Additionally, comprehensive competitive strategies such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations will aid the reader in understanding the untapped revenue pockets in the market.

Research Methodology: The research methodology design adopted for this specific study includes a mix of data collected from primary and secondary data sources. Both primary resources (key players, market leaders, and in-house experts) and secondary research (a host of paid and unpaid databases), along with analytical tools, are employed to build the predictive and forecast models.

Data and validation have been taken into consideration from both primary sources as well as secondary sources.

Report Synopsis

Report Metrics Details
Base year considered 2023
Forecast period considered 2023-2033
Base year market size $13.41 Billion in 2023
Market size forecast $24.41 Billion by 2033
Growth rate 6.17%
Units considered $ Billion
Segments covered By Platform, By Product Type, By Integration Type, By Region
Industry covered Defense & Security
Regions covered North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Latin America
Countries covered U.S., Canada, Germany, France, U.K., Russia, Rest-of-Europe, China, Japan , India , Rest-of-Asia-Pacific, Rest-of-the-World
Companies studied
  • BAE Systems
  • RUAG
  • Bharat Dynamics Limited
  • Chemring Group PLC
  • Elbit Systems Ltd.
  • L3Harris Technologies, Inc.
  • Leonardo S.p.A.
  • MBDA
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Rheinmetall AG
  • TARA Aerospace AD
  • TERMA

Key Considerations and Assumptions in Market Engineering and Validation

  • Detailed secondary research has been done to ensure maximum coverage of manufacturers/suppliers operational in a country.
  • Exact revenue information, up to a certain extent, will be extracted for each company from secondary sources and databases. Revenues specific to product/service/technology will then be estimated for each market player based on fact-based proxy indicators as well as primary inputs.
  • Based on the classification, the average selling price (ASP) is calculated using the weighted average method.
  • The currency conversion rate has been taken from the historical exchange rate of Oanda and/or other relevant websites.
  • Any economic downturn in the future has not been taken into consideration for the market estimation and forecast.
  • The base currency considered for the market analysis is US$. Currencies other than the US$ have been converted to the US$ for all statistical calculations, considering the average conversion rate for that particular year.
  • The term “product” in this document may refer to “platform” as and where relevant.
  • The term “manufacturers/suppliers” may refer to “systems providers” or “technology providers” as and where relevant.

Primary Research

The primary sources involve industry experts from the aerospace and defense industry, including thermal countermeasures, defense-related industries, and thermal countermeasures platform manufacturers. Respondents such as CEOs, vice presidents, marketing directors, and technology and innovation directors have been interviewed to obtain and verify both qualitative and quantitative aspects of this research study.

Secondary Research

This study involves the usage of extensive secondary research, company websites, directories, and annual reports. It also makes use of databases, such as Defense News and others, to collect effective and useful information for a market-oriented, technical, commercial, and extensive study of the global market. In addition to the data sources, the study has been undertaken with the help of other data sources and websites, such as www.nasa.gov.

Secondary research was done to obtain critical information about the industry’s value chain, the market’s monetary chain, revenue models, the total pool of key players, and the current and potential use cases and applications.

Key Market Players and Competition Synopsis

The companies that are profiled have been selected based on thorough secondary research, which includes analyzing company coverage, product portfolio, market penetration, and insights gathered from primary experts.

The thermal countermeasures market comprises key players who have established themselves thoroughly and have the proper understanding of the market, accompanied by start-ups who are looking forward to establishing themselves in this highly competitive market. In 2022, the thermal countermeasures market was dominated by established players, accounting for 73% of the market share, whereas start-ups managed to capture 27% of the market.

Some prominent names established in this market are:

  • BAE Systems
  • Bharat Dynamics Limited
  • Chemring Group PLC
  • Elbit Systems Ltd.
  • L3Harris Technologies, Inc.
  • Leonardo S.p.A.
  • MBDA
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Rheinmetall AG
  • RUAG

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