07 Oct 09. An estimated $7.9bn will be spent on major land and sea-based EO systems and programs over the next 10 years, according to Forecast International’s “The Market for Land & Sea-Based Electro-Optical Systems” analysis. The top-five leaders of the land and sea-based EO systems market covered in this analysis are ITT, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Thales, and Kollmorgen. These companies lead in the production of night vision, thermal imaging, simulation, and naval sensor systems. ITT’s ability to produce and ship high-quality night vision goggles quickly and in very high quantities has helped propel the company to the top spot in the ranking. ITT’s PVS-14 night vision goggles will continue to be produced in high numbers over the next several years under a multibillion-dollar omnibus contract. “Night vision devices are easily among the most pervasive and game-changing electronic systems on the modern battlefield,” said Andrew Dardine, Forecast International senior analyst and author of the study. “With a sustained focus on nighttime operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are quite simply indispensable. Approximately 75,000 units will need to be produced in 2010 alone to meet wartime demand.” In terms of sea-based applications, next-generation EO systems will be installed on new-build naval vessels and retrofitted on older platforms over the next 10 years. Among the leading systems in this area are some important new programs developed by Thales, as well as important systems from Kollmorgen. The SIRIUS long-range, infrared search and track (LR IRST) naval surveillance system should be produced in steady numbers over the next several years for its first major applications. Jointly designed, developed, and tested by DRS Technologies and Thales Nederland, the U.S. company (or more specifically, its Canadian division) will take over as SIRIUS prime contractor once production begins. With well-publicized acts of sea-based piracy on the rise, like the April 2009 Maersk Alabama incident, the need for coastal security vessels to be equipped with the most advanced surveillance systems will only increase. Nations will therefore continue to invest in technology, such as Kollmorgen’s Mk 46 fire control director, well into the next decade. The U.S. Navy’s Coast Guard Equipment procurement program – through which the Mk 46 is purchased for the service – earmarks $292m for the Mk 46 and other electronic systems through 2013.
02 Oct 09. According to Forecast International’s annual review of the market for airborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sensors, the next 10 years will see production of more than 199,000 systems valued at $6.1bn. This growth in the airborne ASW sensor market reflects the fact that aircraft remain the most mobile, flexible, and cost-effective ASW systems available to the world’s navies. Despite economic doubts and uncertainties surrounding the defense industry in the first decade of the 21st century, aircraft continue to be the most dangerous adversary faced by a submarine fleet. “Airborne ASW systems are likely to be the first line of defense against any major submarine threat over the next decade,” said Stuart Slade, senior naval editor at Forecast International. For that reason, the research and development funding that accounts for nearly half of this sector’s fiscal value is of critical importance for the future of the market as a whole. In the analysis, Slade notes the dynamic nature of this market sector’s technology, which is revolutionizing submarines: the introduction of air-independent propulsion for diesel-electric submarines; new weapons and sensor technologies; new silencing techniques; and, perhaps most significantly, the widespread introduction of unmanned underwater vehicles for more hazardous duties. Silencing techniques, originally designed for nuclear boats, have made the latest diesel-electric designs remarkably quiet. At the same time, ASW detection technology has also advanced. Compu