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Global defense spending is growing. Factors such as the need to modernize equipment, continuing unrest in the Middle East, tensions in South China Seas, and an increased capability to spend after the global recession are driving growth. Technology advances and intensifying competition will compel the United States (US) Department of Defense (DoD) to invest in streamlining foreign military sales (FMS) to international partners, and weapons suppliers to develop and manufacture innovative products at competitive prices.
“US defense companies need to tailor the FMS programme to focus on long-term equipment and services deliveries, utilizing direct commercial sales (DCS) for rapid resupply of non-technical and/or military consumables, and improving cost efficiencies through synergistic partnerships with emerging economies,”said Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & DefenseSenior Industry Analyst Michael Blades.
Recent research from Frost & Sullivan’s Defense Growth Partnership Subscription, DoD Foreign Military Sales Market, Forecast to 2021, finds that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 3.4 percent between 2015 and 2021. The most requested and delivered systems in the FMS programme include ground-based air defense weaponry, fighter aircraft, training services, and tactical vehicles.
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Regional developments include:
- Steady growth in Africa’s FMS market as emerging economies and war-torn militaries look to rebuild and/or modernize.
- Turkey is aggressively focussing on building an indigenous defense industrial base with an eye on future exports. The country has received the most FMS deliveries over the past seven years.
- Aircraft and air defense purchases from East Asia and Pacific region are driven by increasing tensions in the South China Sea as well as a need to recapitalize aging military equipment.
- In Near East and South Asia, there is a general demand for more advanced air and ground forces, an insatiable appetite for US-made equipment and geopolitical instability.
- In Eastern Europe, Baltic states are increasing defense spending to protect against a more aggressive Russia.
- Demand and continued FMS requests for fighter aircraft in the Middle East.
- Countries like Brazil, Turkey, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel have strengthened their defense industrial base in recent years and aspire to become worthy competitors in the global arms export market.
“Indigenous capabilities for establishing a defense industrial base are increasing worldwide with small, regional companies challenging large defense contractors, especially those in the US, by providing equipment with slightly lower capability at a significantly lower cost. Companies that were not considered rivals are quickly becoming relevant through this competitive tactic,” noted Blades. “US defense companies can mitigate this risk by investing in sensor improvements to maintain a technological edge over foreign competitors.”
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