Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, US Military Combat Vehicle Market, Forecast to 2024, reveals that the US Army is significantly investing in enhancing its aging combat vehicle (CV) fleet while also developing next-generation vehicles that will operate un-manned, collect intelligence, and follow an optionally manned vehicle leader.

While the development of robotics and autonomous systems will boost combat effectiveness, the convergence and integration of various sensors and weapons systems are set to provide lucrative application opportunities. Frost & Sullivan expects the cumulative spending by the Department of Defense (DoD) on military combat vehicles (CVs) to reach $56,25-billion by 2024.

“Technology upgrades and modifications are the stable spending segments as wear and tear of systems and developing defence mechanisms for evolving threats are essential areas of focus,” says John Hernandez, senior industry analyst, Defence at Frost & Sullivan. “In the near future, the US Army will look toward long wave infrared (LWIR) sensors with extended field of view and capable of providing high-definition video to enhance situational awareness in support of military CV.”

From a competitive perspective, the top five participants accounted for 80,8% of the total value of contracts awarded during 2018. Participants such as BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Oshkosh Defens compete on cost, performance, schedule, support, technology, reliability, contractor relationships, and customer relationships.

“To contend in a highly established and consolidated market, OEMs need to start restructuring their platforms with a focus on open architecture,” says Hernandez. “Benchmarking winning modular designs, improving their capabilities by building affiliations that complement their capabilities with a variety of options, and ensuring user requirements are met, will be key to future success.”

Further strategic imperatives for growth that vendors should tap into include:
• Revitalising their offerings to meet the Army’s CV modernisation strategy
• Integrators and weapons developers ensuring that the fire control architecture for new CVs can accommodate a variety of weapon systems to meet the Army’s desire for modularity
• CV providers concentrating their efforts on developing sensor architectures that increase interoperability and allow the sharing of sensor data between CVs and other platforms
• Providers applying efficient engineering practices that balance the Army’s modernisation initiatives to provide lighter, more reliable vehicles to increase capabilities and lower sustainment costs

“Although there are significant prospects in this market, it is difficult to enter, with incumbent contractors well established with strong supply chain capabilities and logistics management expertise,” says Hernandez. “Furthermore, US involvement in past wars has taken its toll on equipment and slowed efforts to modernise.”