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Defending the Future: The Armor Materials Market in a Changing World

Introduction

Armor has played a crucial role throughout history in protecting individuals, vehicles, and even animals from harm during combat and other dangerous activities. However, in today’s ever-evolving world, the nature of threats and the demand for more advanced armor materials have dramatically shifted. Rising security concerns, the emergence of advanced weapons and ammunition, and evolving technology are driving significant growth in the global armor materials market.  As threats from advanced weapons and ammunition continue to evolve, governments, law enforcement agencies, and even private security firms are turning to cutting-edge armor materials to protect personnel and assets. In this article, we will delve into the various facets of this market and explore the driving forces behind its expansion.

 

Armor, a protective covering, has a rich history as a shield against damage inflicted by direct-contact weapons, projectiles, and hazardous environments. Its primary role is to protect lives and assets, with personal armor safeguarding soldiers and war animals on the battlefield. Meanwhile, vehicle armor reinforces armored fighting vehicles and warships, ensuring their resilience against modern threats. Beyond warfare, armor finds diverse applications, such as safeguarding construction workers from debris, enabling cyclists to ride safely, and protecting extreme sports enthusiasts during their adventures. Additionally, it serves as a critical layer of defense for law enforcement officers and safety gear for industrial workers, firefighters, and emergency responders. Armor, adaptable and essential, continues to evolve, symbolizing humanity’s determination to confront and overcome danger in various facets of life.

 

The Changing Face of Warfare and Armor materials

In the past, armor was primarily designed to protect against conventional weaponry. However, modern warfare practices have introduced new challenges, including counterinsurgency, counter-terrorism, and guerrilla warfare operations.

Armor materials are pivotal in safeguarding individuals by absorbing the impact of physical attacks. The utilization of body armor provides troops with a decisive advantage on the battlefield, significantly enhancing survivability and reducing casualties. Moreover, body armor has proven highly effective in diminishing injuries and fatalities within the ranks of law enforcement officers and correctional services, illustrating its indispensable role in enhancing safety.

These armor materials, whether used in vests, helmets, vehicles, or other applications, possess crucial characteristics such as heat resistance, lightweight properties, and flexibility. This adaptability enables their utilization across diverse sectors, including aerospace armor, body armor, vehicle armor, and marine armor, among others. A driving force behind the adoption of advanced armor materials is government investment aimed at bolstering defense and security capabilities. This strategic investment is particularly pertinent in the face of escalating global terrorism threats, motivating the integration of cutting-edge materials in armor manufacturing to ensure heightened protection and resilience.

Earlier, traditional armor materials like steel and ceramic were sufficient to provide protection against conventional weaponry. However, as technology has advanced, so too have the weapons used in modern conflicts. With the advent of armor-piercing rounds, high-velocity projectiles, and other sophisticated weaponry, the demand for more advanced armor materials has skyrocketed. These scenarios often result in soldiers and law enforcement personnel facing deadly threats that necessitate the use of advanced armor materials for protection.

Advanced Weapons and Ammunition Threats

The emergence of advanced weapons and ammunition threats has necessitated a significant shift in the armor materials industry. These threats include: These include:

  1. Armor-Piercing Rounds: Conventional materials like steel and ceramic struggle to withstand armor-piercing projectiles, making advanced armor materials a necessity.
  2. High-Velocity Rounds: Modern ammunition travels at higher velocities, posing a greater challenge to traditional armor materials. New materials are required to efficiently disperse the energy generated by these rounds.
  3. Explosive Devices: As explosive devices become more potent, armor materials must effectively absorb and dissipate blast energy to protect personnel and assets.
  4. Ballistic Threats: Law enforcement agencies increasingly face firearm-related threats, necessitating advanced body armor for officers’ protection.

Rising Security Concerns

Modern-day warfare practices include counterinsurgency, counter-terrorism, and guerrilla warfare operations that may injure soldiers, causing fatal injuries. Similar scenarios exist in the law enforcement field wherein criminals, felons, and law offenders can fatally injure corresponding officers, thus necessitating investment in personal body armor and related equipment. Security concerns have expanded beyond the military realm into various sectors:

Law Enforcement: Police forces require advanced body armor to protect officers during high-risk operations and encounters.

Border Control: Border security agencies need reliable armor materials to safeguard against potential threats.

Critical Infrastructure: Protecting vital infrastructure, such as power plants and transportation hubs, is crucial in an era of heightened security awareness.

Private Sector: Private security firms invest in advanced armor materials to protect their personnel and clients from security threats.

The Growing Armor Materials Market

Global Armor Materials Market to Reach $20.8 Billion by 2032

The global market for Armor Materials estimated at US$11.1 Billion in the year 2022, is projected to  surge from USD 12.3 Billion in 2023 to USD 20.8 Billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 6.80% from 2023 to 2032.

There are many different types of armor materials on the market, and producers are vying hard to create strong, lightweight armor materials. Being able to carry extra ammunition or other useful equipment with military troops is made possible by the use of lightweight and effective armor materials.

Driving  factors

The global armor materials market is experiencing unprecedented growth due to several key factors:

  1. Technological Advancements: Ongoing research and development efforts are leading to the creation of innovative armor materials that can withstand advanced threats while remaining lightweight and flexible.
  2. Government Spending: Governments worldwide are increasing defense budgets to procure advanced armor materials for their armed forces and security agencies.
  3. Commercialization: Advanced armor materials are increasingly available for civilian applications, such as body armor and vehicle protection, expanding the market.
  4. Global Instability: Geopolitical tensions and regional conflicts have raised security concerns, driving the demand for armor materials.
  5. Investment Opportunities: The growing armor materials market presents lucrative investment opportunities for businesses and investors looking to capitalize on this expanding industry.

Some of the prominent trends that the market is witnessing include development of advanced weapons and ammunition, rising security concerns in the emerging economies, soaring demand for lightweight protection solutions and growth opportunities/investment opportunities.

The rising security concerns in emerging economies and the growing investment in the security system and defense is likely to boost the demand for the body armor. Furthermore, the growing demand for the vehicle, aircraft, and marine protection coupled with the rise in the spending on improving vehicle performance and aircraft security is a major factor that is fueling the growth of the market over the forecast period.

The noticeable rise of the military and defence industries is one of the primary elements promoting a positive outlook for the market. Armor materials are regularly used to protect soldiers in battle and minimize the force of approaching weapons and projectiles. The device is widely used to protect military vehicles from missiles, bullets, and shrapnel, which is also promoting market expansion. Numerous product developments, such as the introduction of lightweight armor materials that are extremely flexible and sustainable and provide consumers with enhanced protection, are leading to the market’s expansion. Accordingly, the marine industry’s expanding requirement for goods to protect assets from underwater torpedoes, shellfire, and ultraviolet (UV) rays is favorably influencing market growth.

The market for armor materials is also significantly influenced by the expanding demand from the Defence and security sectors. Due to the increased need for high-tech armor materials to protect people, vehicles, and essential infrastructure from ballistic, explosive, and other threats, this market is growing. Due to rising geopolitical tensions, particularly in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, the need for armor materials has surged. Nations are boosting their defense budgets and investing in state-of-the-art armor systems in order to protect themselves against potential threats.

Market Segmentation

By Material Type

As per Material Type, the Armor Materials Market is considered for metals & alloys, composites, para-aramid fibre, UHMWPE, fibreglass, and others. The category of metals and alloys had the largest market share in 2022. This is because titanium and its alloys are increasingly being used in military vehicles and armor, which is expected to drive market expansion. Because of its low density and exceptional corrosion resistance, titanium is frequently utilised to make lighter cars and body armor.

Metals & Alloys, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to record a 4.7% CAGR and reach US$6 Billion by the end of the analysis period. Taking into account the ongoing post pandemic recovery, growth in the Composites segment is readjusted to a revised 5.1% CAGR for the next 8-year period.

Growing political insurgencies, the incidence of terrorism across the globe, and domestic conflicts compel governments to develop effective military solutions, leading to the necessity of high-quality armor materials. The widespread use of lightweight aluminum alloys in military vehicles is one of the market drivers for growth. They are also used in air transportation of equipment for military vehicles due to their high-performance quality. Their ability to prevent corrosion and low cost make the aluminum alloys a perfect replacement for titanium alloys. The serious concern over safety issues led the emerging economies to invest heavily in body armor for police and military personnel to add to the growth of the market.

 

The coming of state-of-the-art armor materials made of steel alloys which are tougher than ceramics, will create new market opportunities in the forecast period. The key market players concentrate on product launching, acquisitions, and collaborations to withstand the market pressure.

 

Using Application

Vehicle armor, aerospace armor, body armor, civil armor, and marine armor are all included in the segmentation of the armor materials market based on application. The segment for vehicle armor had the most market share in 2022.

 

Technology

Researchers are engaged in development  on better materials that could dramatically decrease weight while maintaining or increasing the level of protection  as well as improve levels of comfort and fit. Because reduced weight would lighten the soldier’s load and increase performance, soldier survivability as a whole could improve significantly. Cost reduction is also a commercial driver, especially when standard body armour systems can be priced as high as several thousand dollars per set. Each of these challenging requirements are being met through development of new materials, innovative designs and lighter weight systems.

Meanwhile, soft body armor is forecasted to increase in sales, as the technology is highly preferred in the private sector among security companies and police departments. The push for more advanced lightweight body armor by these customers will help propel the expansion of the market, the report said. “Technological innovations and modernization initiatives [will] prompt security agencies and military forces to opt for the latest equipment,” the study said.

Protection Level Insights

Level III protection accounted for 25.0% of the global revenue share in 2021.Level III vests are lighter, more flexible, and concealable under clothing, they can defeat a wider range of ammunition. They also provide greater blunt force protection than IIA. The level III product is suitable for council employees, officers, and even civilians and is the widely used protection armor.

The Level II segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.0% over the forecast period. Level II protection armor protects a common handgun round and is lightweight, concealable, and comfortable to wear. Compared to level IIA, level II provides greater protection against blunt force trauma.

Level IIIA is a soft armor category. The materials utilized to make the Level IIIA and Level III choices are not the same. The Level IIIA product can also be used in conjunction with other protective panels, by giving maximum protection. This type of body armor can be worn overtly as well as covertly. Some manufacturers also offer IIIA+ products to protect against shotgun shells such as 9 mm civil defense rounds.

The level IV product offers protection from AP bullets of 30 calibers. This armor is made for use in military contexts and offers the maximum level of protection. In comparison to Level III & III+ product that is offered on the market, this gear is also pricey and bulky.

 

Restraining Factors

Manufacturing activities have been halted due to lockdown imposed in many countries. However, as lockdown restrictions eased off, manufacturers have started their plants with limited workforce. The disrupted supply chain due to lockdown hindered the supply of raw materials. Moreover, the ban on import-export activities restricted movement of goods from other countries.

 

However, the high production cost is a major factor that is likely to hinder the growth of the market.  The  high cost associated and limited application scope of multi-layered composite materials hinder the market growth. On the other hand, advancements in armor materials plates create new opportunities in the coming years.

Armor Materials Market Size, Share, Trends, Opportunities & Forecast

Segmentation

The homeland security segment is projected to grow at a higher rate than the military segment during the forecast period. Ballistic-resistant body armor is worn by homeland security officers while in the field to protect against specific ballistic threats. Homeland security officers use personal protective equipment, including body vests, ballistic helmets, and gloves, to ensure safety during any mission. Ballistic helmets are intended to protect the wearer against small arms fire and fragmentation threats. The combat systems used by homeland security officers are ballistic resistant as ceramics and thermoplastics reinforce them.

 

The application segment includes vehicle armor, aerospace armor, body armor, civil armor and marine armor.  Body armor consists of various sections. In the lowest point, a jacket may have two panels that are worn over the front and back of the jacket itself. Such panels are what shield the wearer, the jacket is literally, a regular jacket without them added.

 

The defense segment led the market and accounted for 58.9% of the global revenue share in 2021. This can be attributed to the progression of battlefield threats such as bone-breaking batons or shrapnel in improvised explosive devices; this has led to the adoption of new tactical ballistic vest protection and pioneering body armor.

 

By application, the vehicles segment held the largest share in 2019, contributing to around two-fifths of the global armor material market, owing to growing application of lightweight aluminum alloys in military vehicles such as personnel carriers.

 

By platform, the airborne segment is projected to grow at a higher CAGR during the forecast period. It includes fixed-wing aircraft & helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). There is an increasing demand for aircraft across various aviation platforms for military purposes. This demand is attributed to the rising military expenditure of multiple countries, such as China, Japan, South Korea, and the US. The UAV segment is expected to witness the highest CAGR for the forecast period, 2020-2025. The growth of the airborne segment is attributed mainly because of the changes in the dynamics of war, leading to the introduction of UAVs on the battlefield.

 

The global body armor market size was valued at USD 2.3 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% from 2022 to 2030. The body armor segment is anticipated to grow at the highest CAGR  because of the increasing security concerns in the emerging economies and to provide protection to law enforcement and military personnel. The rapid development of weapons and ammunition is also a driving factor boosting the growth of the body armor segment  along with an increase in application for Kevlar fabrics and Dyneema fabrics in armor vests.

 

Strength to weight ratio of armor materials plays vital role in the manufacturing of end products. With several stages of development in the armor material since inception the market is further projected to witness huge opportunity over the forecast period. The market is projected to reach more than USD 16 billion by the end of 2028.

 

In terms of material type, the global armor material market is segmented into metals & alloys, ceramics & composites, para-aramid fiber, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, fiberglass and others. Metals & alloys holds the lion share followed by ceramics and composites. The metal & alloys segment emerged as the leader in the global armor materials market with a revenue of USD 3.22 billion in 2019. This was because metals such as high-density steel, titanium and aluminum, along with their alloys, are used as armor materials for the aerospace, vehicle and marine armor systems.

 

By material type, the composites segment to register the highest CAGR 6.7% during the forecast period, owing to growing preference of composite materials in mobile military equipment, such as tanks and large ships.

Ceramic Armor Market size is expected to grow from USD 2.3 billion in 2022 to USD 3.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 8.6% during the forecast period, as per the recent published report by MarketsandMarkets™. The high growth of the ceramic armor market can be attributed to its substantial demand from the body and vehicle armor applications. Increasing threats from asymmetric warfare, regional conflicts, riots, and terrorism are creating the demand for protective clothing and safe vehicles for safeguarding armed forces, especially in disputed regions across the globe.

Silicon carbide is one of the key ceramic materials for producing ceramic armor. Silicon carbide is extensively used in armor for protection against larger projectiles. The high demand for body armor that provides higher defense and lower weight has increased the market for silicon carbide market globally. Silicon carbide ceramic material is the most preferred material for defending rifle bullets because of its high strength and hardness. The material is less expensive and offers higher mechanical properties.

Regional Insights

Geography wise, the global armor materials market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa. The global application of armor material varies from region to region owing to demand, supply, presence of manufacturers, and application.

The Armor Materials market in the U.S. is estimated at US$3 Billion in the year 2022. This is primarily due to the terrorism-related rise in homeland security concerns. The United States has the largest military force in the world and spends the most money on it. There are growing geopolitical and bilateral conflicts among the major nations. Additionally, the growth in terrorist activities has increased the demand for armor materials used in the manufacture of defense equipment. In addition, the United States has been aggressively supplying Ukraine with military help to combat Russia. This is also anticipated to increase demand for this product in the coming months.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$3.4 Billion by the year 2030 trailing a CAGR of 7.9% over the analysis period 2022 to 2030.

Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 2.4% and 3.9% respectively over the 2022-2030 period.

Europe occupies a massive share of the worldwide market. The development of cutting-edge armor systems and materials for automobiles and aerospace, as well as the growing demand for homeland security applications, are to blame for this. Additionally, a number of amendment acts in the region support the use of domestically manufactured goods like armor materials (steel, fibre) and thus contribute to the expansion of the regional market. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 3.1% CAGR. In addition, the German armor materials market had the biggest market share, and the armor materials market in the United Kingdom had the quickest rate of growth in the region of Europe.

Led by countries such as Australia, India, and South Korea, the market in Asia-Pacific is forecast to reach US$2.2 Billion by the year 2030. India, China, and Japan are among the prominent countries with large military troops credited for significant expenditure on military gear.

From 2023 to 2032, the market for armor materials in Asia-Pacific is anticipated to develop at the quickest rate. A rise in military activities is to blame for this. Growing instances of warfare and border disputes coupled with an increase in the insurgency in the region are expected to propel the demand for body armor.  The modernization of military programmes in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea is also predicted to increase demand for the components used in vehicle and aerospace armor. Additionally, the Indian market for armor materials was expanding at the quickest rate in the Asia-Pacific area, while China’s market for such materials had the biggest market share. The increase in the number of insurgent groups entering the territories and using deadly explosives such as IEDs and bombs has further raised the need for ballistic protection systems.

Key Indutry Players

Key players include DuPont, DSM NV, Honeywell International Inc., Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Ceradyne, Inc., Alcoa Corporation, Royal TenCate NV, Saab AB, CoorsTek Inc., Morgan Advanced Materials, CeramTec GmbH, Tata Steel Limited, AGY Holding Corp., PPG Industries Inc.

Safariland, LLC; Point Blank Enterprises, Inc.; Elmon SA; Ballistic Body Armor Pty; Pacific Safety Products Inc.; EnGarde Body Armor; Hellweg International Pty Ltd.; BAE Systems plc; Ceradyne Inc.; Avon Protection plc; Sarkar Tactical Ltd.; Craig International Ballistics Pty Ltd.; Armored Republic LLC

A few of the major players in the global ballistic protection market include BAE Systems (UK), 3M (US), Rheinmetall AG (Germany), Koninklijke Ten Cate bv (Netherlands), Point Blank Enterprises, Inc (US), Craig International Ballistics Pty Ltd. (Australia), MKU Limited (India), Elmon (Greece), FMS Enterprises Migun Ltd (Israel), Permali (UK), Revision Military (US), Saab AB(Sweden), and Survitec Group Limited(UK).

 

China National Bluestar (Group) Co. Ltd., Kermel, Guangdong Charming Co., Ltd., BASF SE, Suzhou Zhaoda Specially Fiber Technical Co., Ltd., JSC Kamenskvolokno, Tango Engineering Ltd., YF International BV, Lydall Performance Materials Inc., Polymer Technologies Pte. Ltd.

Conclusion

In a world where security concerns are constantly evolving, the global armor materials market is surging to meet the demand for better protection. Rising threats from advanced weapons and ammunition, coupled with ongoing technological advancements, are driving the development and adoption of advanced armor materials across various sectors. As the industry continues to evolve, the quest for enhanced protection and security is shaping the future of the global armor materials market, ensuring a safer world for us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/body-armor-market

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/04/05/2641693/0/en/Global-Armor-Materials-Strategic-Report-2023-Army-Demand-for-Lighter-Body-Armors-Gives-Way-for-Use-of-New-Materials.html

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/07/12/2703283/0/en/Armor-Materials-Market-to-Rise-from-USD-12-3-Billion-in-2023-to-USD-20-8-Billion-by-2032-at-a-Rate-of-6-80-Between-2023-and-2032-Report-by-Market-Research-Future-MRFR.html

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