The non-lethal weapons market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 4.56% during the forecast period (2021-2026). The market is expected to grow from USD 4.33 billion in 2020 to USD 5.67 billion in 2026.
- The outbreak of the pandemic has not significantly impacted the growth of the non-lethal weapons market. In several countries, non-lethal weapons were used to disperse the crowd during the lockdown. Protests related to Black Lives Matter increased the purchase of non-lethal weapons in 2020, especially in the US which is the largest market for non-lethal weapons. - Increasing armed violence and political tensions have resulted in governments across the world taking precautions and arming the military and the police forces with non-lethal weapons. Instances of civilian violence and clashes with armed forces in North America and the Asia-Pacific region have led to the deployment of non-lethal weapons. - These factors may continue to drive the demand for non-lethal weapons, as law enforcement agencies try to reduce fatalities and casualties in such events, which may help the market during the forecast period. - Lack of proper training on the use of non-lethal weapons has resulted in serious injuries. Restrictions on the use of non-lethal weapons by the governments and objections raised by human rights organizations have acted as a barrier for the full-scale adoption of non-lethal weapons. - Significant work on electroshock and directed energy weapons is underway, which is expected to bring a revolution in the field of non-lethal weapons in future.
Key Market Trends Military Segment to Exhibit the Highest Growth Rate During the Forecast Period
The role of armed forces or military has changed significantly as their involvement in policing the civilian populations has increased. In today’s world, military units are involved in ongoing international conflicts that bring them into direct contact with civilian populations. Soldiers deployed in humanitarian roles are subject to strict rules of engagement threat. This has generated the need for less lethal bullets and ammunition for use in perimeter security, crowd and riot control, and pilfering situations. Militaries are prepared to operate in the MOOTW (Military Operations Other Than War), where the use of lethal force is not permissible. With rubber bullets, batons, foam, bean bag rounds, and sponges failing to serve their less-lethal purpose effectively, there is a growing demand for weapons that can fulfill the goal of pain compliance without the risk of fatality.
In some instances, the military units face threats from insurgents who intermingle with the civilian population to engage in asymmetrical tactics. In such situations, less-lethal ammunition solutions can provide a way to deal with insurgents without posing a fatal threat to the civilian population. The US Army recently introduced a new non-lethal weapon to support its soldiers in Afghanistan. The new weapon known as the Variable Kinetic System (VKS) has been developed by PepperBall Technologies. The weapon fires projectiles like paintballs containing a hot pepper solution. The projectiles have a range of around 50 yards, and the irritant contains 5% pelargonic acid vanillylamide (PAVA), along with a synthetic version of pepper spray. The weapon can carry up to 180 rounds in “hopper mode”. The Army awarded a USD 650,000 contract for the weapons and purchased 267 of the weapons that are currently used for training. There are several other LLW (Less Lethal Weapons) applications that are being developed for the military. These include technologies, such as acoustic, microwave, infrared, radio frequency-based, and laser in nature. The development of these technologies will require new delivery systems and expensive R&D. Hence, there is an economic advantage to non-lethal weapons that can be implemented using existing delivery systems.
Currently, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate of the US is working on the deployment capability of the ADS without violating international laws. Nevertheless, the US DoD is evaluating its options to equip aerial drones and manned and robotic ground vehicles, as well naval surface and underwater craft with exotic non-lethal gear, including directed energy weapons such as low-powered lasers and microwave beams, as well as more familiar weapons such as stun grenades and stink bombs. Similar initiatives are foreseen to be undertaken by other countries, once the technology becomes feasible, thereby driving the military adoption during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific will Register the Highest Growth Rate During the Forecast Period
The growth of the Asia-Pacific region is expected to be the highest during the forecast period. With the escalating tensions in the Kashmir Valley and protests all over India, during the past few years, the demand for less-lethal weapons increased. Occasional riots and civil unrest, such as demonstrations and protests in cities in Eastern China, often in connection with labor-related, environmental, and educational issues, have led to the police forces resorting to the use of non-lethal ammunition, which, collectively, may have a positive impact on the growth of the market. The Border Security Force (BSF) of India uses various non-lethal weapons at the India-Bangladesh border to stop cross-border smuggling and illegal migration. Other armed forces in India, such as the Navy, Military, and Airforce, also preferring non-lethal weapons for various applications, considering their effectiveness. For instance, in December 2020, Bharat Electronics Limited signed a contract with the Indian Navy to supply 20 laser dazzlers. During the Hong Kong protest in May 2020, police forces in China fired teargas to control the crowd gathered against Beijing’s national security law. Such increased use of non-lethal weapons will generate demand for new non-lethal weapons during the forecast period.
Competitive Landscape The non-lethal ammunition market is highly fragmented, with a handful of players representing conventional non-lethal weapons. There are numerous manufacturers funded and supported by the government domestically capable of serving both sudden and long-term demands. Most of these manufacturers produce all types of explosives and ammunition (both lethal and non-lethal) for the military and law enforcement. Thus, they have the capability to increase focus on certain ammunition and improve production rate on short notice, as the supply chain is completely localized and supported by government funding and logistics. AMTEC Less lethal, Axon Enterprise, RUAG, Rheinmetall AG, and Safariland were some of the major players, together accounting for about 50% of the market share in 2020. Mergers and acquisitions between the market players in the recent past have helped the companies strengthen their market presence. For instance, Amtech Less-Lethal Systems Inc. acquired Thomas Lowe Defense (TLD). The acquisition resulted in the broadening of the product portfolio of the company, which now includes modular and reusable diversionary devices that can be used for training, as well as operations.
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