Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Military Robotic Race and the Driving Forces

Today, "robots" are used across the US military (but not limited to the US) for a plethora of reasons-EOD, transportation, combat, scouting, reconnaissance-the list goes on, and widens if you start to consider air, sea, and land use. The market for this has been growing steadily, and is expected to be worth close to $31 billion USD by the early 2020's. As of 2017, the military robotics market was pegged just under $17 billion USD. If the estimates are true, this is a remarkable leap in only half a decade's time. This growth has two main causes: events of terrorism, and the need between all nations to created unmanned systems.

Developing countries (India and China are the largest) are building larges forces of these robotic tools and systems, and the competition and race is growing. Not only are countries both big and small adding these robotic systems to augment their forces, they are investing heavily in the technology behind it. Focusing on this new automated technology and manufacturing a broad array of unmanned robotic systems (designed for land, sea, air, and space) adds to the competition of the race. Europe and the Asia Pacific region will be at the lead of this charge; the Europeans and their military robotic markets are projected to grow the highest and the quickest during the next five years. This can be explained by the ever increasing R&D activates undertaken across Europe as a whole.

The Asia Pacific region, however, have increased defense spending and bigger military budgets as the main factor of their growth in this new market. This is also strongly intertwined with the geopolitical dynamics of the area as a whole; measures taken by the emerging and booming economies of India and China are primarily for the enhancement of their military and their capabilities, and to be able to have the competitive edge against their competitors in their regions. However, both the European countries and the Asia Pacific region are focusing more on developing and deploying unmanned systems to assist in their military applications.

The US is right on top in this market (many of the huge firms are US based: Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman Corporation, and Boeing), but it also coordinates and partners with many others nations who are in in the race. For example, India recently just agreed with the US to purchase 22 armed drones for their military. Indeed, no small part of the expected growth in those areas is due to the US companies direct involvement with the technology. With more and more emphasis being put on unmanned robotic systems, devices, and equipment, and nations become more and more reliant on them, this projection of growth is most likely accurate, and will not slow down. The US and US allies need to continue to be at the forefront of this to maintain their competitive edge over the other nations int he world; the US needs to continue with this R&D to maintain their spot as the world leader and global superpower.

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