The smart textiles for the military market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 26.14% during the forecast period.
The growing military spending and territorial issues between various countries are propelling the investments towards augmentation of the technologies for their armed forces. Such investments are focused on the development and deployment of advanced smart textiles for their military personnel, which is expected to propel the growth of the market.
Currently, companies and research facilities are focusing on the various categories of technology-enabled fibers, such as dual-channel data transfer capable fibers, color-changing fibers, and fibers that can store electricity. Also, textile-based materials equipped with nanotechnology and electronics play a key role in the development of technologically advanced military uniforms and materials. The growing emphasis on the integration of such technologies into military textiles is expected to bolster the market prospects during the forecast period.
The incorporation of stealth materials that can completely conceal the presence of military personnel is expected to accelerate the growth of the market in the coming years.
Key Market Trends
Protection and Mobility is Expected to Witness Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The operation of military personnel in harsh terrains for extended tenure necessitates protection from elements and battle hazards. Biological and chemical agents continue to pose severe threats because of their broad defensive and offensive potential. Recently, the threat of bioterrorism increased due to the concerns that non-state armed actors, such as terrorists and militia groups, could use biological agents to target air, water sources, food supplies, and other vital infrastructures. Furthermore, toxins and microbiological materials also pose a great threat to the mental health of the troops, which could affect the success of any military operations. The integration of IoT sensors in smart clothes to determine the presence and level of hazardous gas in the environment and allow the military to mitigate the harm caused by hazardous gases efficiently. Acellent Technologies Inc., a US-based company, in collaboration with the US Army, developed the SmartArmor system that can be used for the in-service monitoring of the health of body armor structures. The system is specially designed to monitor a personal body armor comprising of SMART layer and software to increase the safety of the soldiers in a combat zone. Since clothing is the first layer of protection for the wearer and forms an important protective measure in defense operation against combat and environmental hazards, this segment is expected to witness highest growth during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific Region will Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The Asia-Pacific houses some of the largest importers of arms such as India, Australia, China, South Korea, etc. Due to the ongoing territorial issues and geographical tensions in the region, the countries in the region are rapidly increasing their military spending. China and India are two of the world’s largest defense spenders with USD 261 billion and USD 71.1 billion military spending in 2019, respectively. The increase in defense spending is propelling the investments towards the development and deployment of smart textiles for the military personnel. As of November 2020, China has shortlisted nearly two dozen private companies to supply advanced unmanned weaponry and graphene clothing to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) regiments deployed along with the long high-altitude border areas with India. The Chinese armed forces are also looking for advanced logistics support equipment like portable solar chargers, smart warm clothing made of graphene, and portable oxygenators to fuse its military needs with the technology available in the civilian sector. However, the adoption is not without its constraints and criticism associated with the lower security protocols that may threaten an entire operation due to hostile capture or manipulation of transmitted data. Hence, since 2015, China has imposed a ban on the use of smart wearables in the PLA Army and deemed the use of wearables with internet access, location information, and voice-calling functions should be considered a violation of confidential regulations when used by military personnel. This may limit the adoption of smart textiles and associated wearables in the region to a certain extent.
The smart textiles for military market is fragmented due to the presence of many players in the market like the presence of universities and research organizations in Europe and North America. Some of the prominent players in the market are BAE Sytems plc, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Tennessee Acquisition Holding BV, Dupont de Nemours Inc., and Schoeller Textil AG. The companies are partnering with the governments and armed forces to develop specifically tailored products for their military personnel. The market is emerging, with a lot of scope for technological advancements. Since several countries now realize the importance of these smart textiles on the battlefield, significant investments in RD are anticipated from many countries, which may provide new opportunities for the local players during the forecast period.
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