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Military CNS Technology growth

CNS (Communication, Navigation, and Surveillance) comprises a vast portfolio of electronic components and technologies utilized for communication, navigation, and surveillance, which are offered under a single platform. Communication comprises tactical wireless headset; personal radio; field digital switchboard; field telephones; HF, VHF, and UH-combat net radios; and antenna multi-couplers; among others. Navigation technologies are among the most integral technologies used in combat operations. An Inertial Navigation System (INS) is a type of navigation system that tracks the position and orientation of an object relative to a known starting point, orientation, or velocity. The demand for ISR systems has increased due to rise in procurement of these systems by the U.S. and military forces in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. Currently, the ISR is observed as a crucial military competency.

CNS technologies on the ground and on-board the aircraft are an essential underlying technical enabler for many of the operational improvements being developed. Performance requirements for CNS systems are becoming increasingly complex and demanding and need to be considered as part of integrated air and ground CNS system considering convergence towards a common infrastructure, and a unified concept of operations, where possible, across the different (COM, NAV and SURV) domains.  In parallel, CNS systems and infrastructure for both airborne and ground must take a more business-oriented approach with efficient use of resources delivering the required capability in a cost-effective and spectrum efficient manner.

Continuous rapid advances in aerospace computing, sensors and communication technologies are stimulating the development of integrated multisensor systems for an increasing number of aeronautical and space applications. In particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cognitive automation and advanced networking technologies are being extensively applied to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and satellites, allowing the development of high-performance and safe multisensor navigation/guidance and mission systems with reduced Size, Weight, Power and Cost (SWaP-C).

In the aviation context, the recent introduction of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) is the first step of an evolutionary process from equipment-based to Performance-Based Operations (PBO). PBN specifies that aircraft navigation systems performance requirements shall be defined in terms of accuracy, integrity, availability and continuity for the proposed operations in the context of a particular airspace when supported by an appropriate Air Traffic Management (ATM) infrastructure. The full PBO paradigm shift requires the introduction of suitable metrics for Performance-Based Communication (PBC) and Performance-Based Surveillance (PBS).

A parallel evolution is also being experienced in the civil/military Air Traffic Management (ATM) field, where the extensive introduction of advanced Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) technologies, including digital data links, satellite services and Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) is supporting the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

However, the international aviation community (both civil and military) is now facing important technological and operational challenges to allow a proper development and deployment of the CNS/ATM and Avionics (CNS+A) innovations announced by the US NextGen, the European SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) and other programs such as CARATS (Collaborative Actions for Renovation of Air Traffic Systems) in Japan and OneSky in Australia. In particular, it is essential to address global harmonisation issues and to develop a cohesive certification framework for future CNS+A systems simultaneously addressing safety, security and interoperability requirements.

Important research efforts are also necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of avionics and ATM technologies capable of contributing to the emission reduction targets set by ICAO, national governments and various large-scale international research initiatives. Therefore, a growing emphasis is now being placed on environmental performance enhancements, focusing on Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM), aircraft trajectory optimisation, airport operations and dynamic airspace management technology enablers including, in a near future, urban environments.

Another major area of current research in the CNS+A context is addressing the development of UAS Traffic Management (UTM) technologies and the associated regulatory framework to allow unrestricted access of UAS to all classes of airspace, including very low-level and Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) operations. Recent developments in communications, navigation and Sense-and-Avoid (SAA) technology are progressively supporting UAS operations in medium-to-high density operational environments, including urban environments.

Communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) technologies are widely utilized in military CNS equipment for battlefield operations. There have been huge R&D investments made in this field by prominent players operating in the defense sector, owing to the replacement of legacy systems in developed countries, technological innovations in defense communication equipment, and modernization of battlefield operations.


The type of missions being carried out by defense forces has been changing rapidly over the past few years. The bulky nature of older communication equipment limits their deployment flexibility, which has increased the demand for lightweight and advanced communication equipment. This demand has contributed to the rise in government spending towards the procurement of advanced communication equipment that can be installed in harsh and demanding environments.

A Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a radio communication system that attempts to place most of the complex signal handling involved in receivers and transmitters into the digital (DSP) style. These radios are increasingly used by defense forces to communicate through various frequencies, as well as to implement different protocols. In addition, the propagation of military CNS technologies from conventional tools to advanced products will help enhance the combat capabilities of defense forces. One of most immediate benefits that software defined radio can provide is spectrum flexibility. As the defense spectrum is off-limits for civilian use, the efficient use of spectrum is expected to be the key focus area in the near future, which will eventually push the growth for military CNS technologies market.

The demand for advanced communication systems to replace legacy equipment, the need for compatibility of devices with future standards, and the need to reduce the cost of end products and services are some of the major factors driving the growth of the SDR segment. However, high development costs and integration issues are factors restraining the demand for SDR.


In the present warfare scenario, the need for exact location details with altitude and orientation of military equipment is of prime importance. These details are required for effective planning and execution of targets by navigation equipment. Navigation systems offer exact and accurate location details. Hence, with the increasing firepower of militaries worldwide, the demand for advanced navigation systems is anticipated to grow in the near future.

Navigation systems have evolved since their inception in World War II. Earlier, most navigation systems were stable platform systems, wherein navigation sensors were mounted on a platform, independent of the rotation of the object. Presently, most navigation systems are strapdown systems. Over the course of time, navigation systems have evolved in terms of the technology used. The use of advanced technologies replaced mechanical components with electronic components, thereby increasing the accuracy and reducing the overall weight of navigation systems.

An Inertial Navigation System (INS) is a type of navigation system that tracks the position and orientation of an object relative to a known starting point, orientation, or velocity. The increasing demand for new aircraft delivery will directly impact the growth of the inertial navigation system segment, as INS is one of the primary systems installed in every aircraft, eventually the integral part of military CNS technologies market.

INS is primarily used for stabilization, guidance, and control in a variety of application platforms, including airplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles, drones, ships & submarines, and military vehicles. Growth in the commercial aerospace industry, increase in air passenger traffic, advancements in MEMS technology, increase in offshore oil & gas exploration activities, and rise in demand for unmanned underwater vehicles are factors anticipated to drive the demand for inertial navigation systems, subsequently the military CNS technologies market.

Integrated Multisensor Systems

Military aircraft and UAS are already equipped with ISR sensors (RADAR/LIDAR, SAR/ISAR, VIS/IR/EO sensors, laser rangefinders, etc.), SATCOM, GNSS, a variety of inertial sensors including platform/strap-down Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) and/or low cost MEMS, plus high throughput RF data links (for high data rate applications like free-stream video transmission) and conventional tactical data links for communications with legacy air, ground and see platforms in current network-centric scenarios. Using the information already provided by the on board avionic systems/sensors (i.e., imaging, ranging, velocities, linear and angular accelerations, attitude angles, angular displacement with respect to known reference points and co-operating platforms) will offer significant cost-advantages, allowing the implementation of suitable data fusion algorithms for accurate navigation and real-time platform guidance.


The concept of integrated multisensor navigation is no way limited in application to military avionic systems. There is a growing number of civil applications, where information from multiple sensors is combined to improve performance, provide redundancy management, increase robustness, or achieve graceful degradation when sensor failures (or outages) occur. Although the sensor integration possibilities are expanding very rapidly today, this research will focus on integration of GNSS, INS and other sensors, such as RADAR, LIDAR and other Forward Looking Sensors (FLS), which are an important subset of modern aerospace avionic systems.


Flight vehicle operation depends primarily upon accurate and continuous knowledge of vehicular position and attitude. In case of an aircraft, this is required primarily to provide guidance information to the pilot. Similarly, in the case of UAS, continuous and accurate position and attitude data are required to allow platform control. Technical requirements for air navigation systems primarily include accuracy, physical characteristics such as weight and volume, support requirements such as electrical power, and system integrity. One of the most important concepts is to use a multisensor integrated system to cope with the requirements of long/medium range navigation and landing.


This would reduce cost, weight/volume and support requirements and, with the appropriate sensors and integration architecture, give increased accuracy and integrity of the overall system. The best candidates for such an integration are indeed the GNSS (and DGNSS) and the INS. The use of barometric altimeter output is also desirable to provide a robust bounding signal to the INS vertical channel and to support platform-level GNSS integrity monitoring functions. Moreover, current RADAR and LIDAR systems can provide accurate ranging (and height) information and high-resolution images which can be used for navigation update, obstacle avoidance and, in military aircraft, for targeting and other applications.


The traditional limitations of laser systems (atmospheric propagation and eye-safety) are greatly reduced by state-of-the-art techniques (e.g., multi-source systems, frequency-shifting, etc.). There are still important issues for a laser sensor as an active angle (azimuth, elevation) and range sensor for all-weather applications that need to be investigated. However, in principle, the integration of laser sensors can provide the highly accurate/reliable information required for an effective integration with DGNSS and INS, particularly useful for navigation and landing applications.


In military applications, further possibilities are also offered by Link 16 and other tactical data links. As the current standard for military anti-jam digital communications, Link 16 has been implemented in the JTIDS and MIDS/JTRS terminals. These systems provide Anti-Jam (AJ) communications using Frequency Hop and Pseudo Random Noise (PRN) spreading techniques. As a result, there are accurate time-of-arrival (TOA) measurements between the transmitting terminals. It is therefore important to develop an integrated navigation filter capability, which optimally integrates MIDS/JTRS data with other sensors (e.g., GNSS, INS, FLS), providing a robust navigation solution in GNSS-denied conditions. Based on the above discussion, this research addresses the following challenges:


Situational awareness is essential in air, naval, space, and military operations. Advanced technologies provide air, ground, and maritime platforms with robust Command, Control, Communication, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities to ensure access to real-time, accurate situational awareness information. For effective mission decisions, high-bandwidth sensor processing, video management systems, secure network routers, and switches are available. These help in handling, displaying, storing, and sharing critical flight, mission, and sensor information, which improve the decision-making process on the battlefield.

Military radar, a type of surveillance system, is utilized for air & ballistic missile defense, air-to-air combat, and strategic long-range surveillance, among other military applications. It plays a very important role in the military CNS technologies market The increase in demand for military radar systems and technologies is spurred by the need felt by several nations to upgrade their radar technologies, so as to safeguard their borders from terrorist threats. Military radar also offers countries with insurgent situations the access to perform surveillance and weapons control as well as other monitoring functions. Increased demand for defense surveillance over porous and attack prone borders, increased spending on defense equipment by emerging countries, and increased terrorism and ongoing inter-country conflicts are factors contributing to the rising demand for military radar. Unlike earlier times, defense surveillance has become an integral task for defense forces worldwide, considering the aforementioned causes.

Market Growth

Global military CNS technology market is estimated to be valued at US$ 98.7 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach at a market value of US$ 146.3 billion by 2031. Global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% during the forecast period 2021-2031.


The growth of the military CNS technologies market can be attributed to huge R&D investments for defense operations, demand for advanced systems to replace legacy equipment, availability of small components at low cost, and UAV revolution from reconnaissance.


The need for change in the current CNS is due to two principal factors: Due to inherent limitations in the current system, it will not be able to cope-up with the growing demand of air traffic; and the need for global consistency in the providing air traffic services (ATS) while progressing towards a seamless CNS system.


Market Segments

The airborne subsegment of C4ISR technologies is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period in the Military CNS Technologies Market The airborne subsegment of C4ISR technologies is projected to grow at the highest CAGR of 4.29% during the forecast period. Airborne platforms have the potential to support government-related economic activities and military tasks across both, public and private security sectors. Airborne C4ISR systems include solutions for robust long-range broadband communication via satellite, vehicle integrated tactical C4ISR technologies, and operational C4ISR technologies. L3 Technologies (U.S.) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.) are leading providers of manned airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance products and services for military organizations.


The ground-based subsegment projected to lead the military radar technologies segment during the forecast period in the Military CNS Technologies Market. The growing military capabilities of countries such as China and India are influencing the demand for military radar, which is an integral part of the Military CNS Technologies Market. The Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, are increasingly investing to improve their military capabilities. Growing rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia is expected to fuel the procurement of military radar in the Middle Eastern region. The threat of ISIS to Turkey, Egypt, and Israel is also anticipated to drive the airborne subsegment of military radar technologies. Airborne attacks on ISIS-controlled areas are carried out using airborne and ground-based military radar.


Based on the bandwidth, the military radar market is categorized into UHF / VHF, L Band, S-Band, C Band, X Band and Ku / K / Ka-Band. Of these, the S-Band segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period, as the S-band is widely used in horizon radars, as it has the ability to detect threats of several kilometers. In 2017, Raytheon Company received $ 45.4 million in contracts for the US Navy. In this contract, the company will deliver the US Navy’s radar systems to the horizon by 2022.


The development of Solid State Electronics has increased significantly in the recent past. Technologically advanced radar systems are produced that are able to provide superior radar performance and low cost of ownership. In September 2019, Raytheon received a $ 495 million contract to provide a replacement for the US Air Force’s solid state module. Under this five-year contract, Raytheon will provide a replacement for the BMEWS solid state module and the PAVE PAWS radar entry system radars.


G7 and BRICS to be the most lucrative markets for software defined radio

G7 nations and BRICS countries are considered to be key markets for software defined radio technologies. These regions have collaboratively accounted for a share of 90% of the software defined radio technologies segment in 2016. Increase in the procurement of advanced communication systems, such as communication systems based on Internet Protocol (IP) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has contributed to the growth of the software defined radio technologies segment. This segment in BRICS is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 14.00% between 2016 and 2022.



Key players operating in the military CNS technologies market are Lockheed Martin (U.S.), Raytheon Company (U.S.), Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.), Saab Group (Sweden), Thales Group (France), BAE Systems plc (U.K.), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel), L3 Technologies (U.S.), General Dynamics Corporation (U.S.), and Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.). Contracts and acquisitions are major growth strategies adopted by top players to strengthen their position in the military CNS technologies market.




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