Nations such as India and China are investing in submarine fleets, while major naval powers like France, the UK, and the US are procuring next-generation ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The US and France are also investing in nuclear-powered attack submarines, and Australia is set to join the restricted club of countries operating such submarines through the AUKUS program. Against this backdrop, the global submarine market is set to grow from a value of US$30 billion in 2023 to $45.6 billion in 2033, forecasts GlobalData, a data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s latest report, Global Submarine Market 2023-2033, reveals that the procurement of submarines with multi-mission capabilities and the ability to deploy underwater drones from submarines acting as mother-ships are some of the major factors expected to drive the design and development of next-generation submarines over the forecast period.
Furthermore, due to the growing use of artificial intelligence and advanced sensors in anti-submarine warfare, the need for more stealthier and technologically advanced submarines has increased significantly.
Aamir Chowdry, Aerospace and Defense Associate Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The growing emphasis on enhancing deterrence capabilities has compelled countries to design submarines which incorporate advanced acoustic reduction technology and multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) equipped ballistic missiles. Due to their high-survivability and endurance, submarines are more ideal for performing deterrence roles as compared to airborne and land-based platforms.”
However, due to high cost of acquisition, lack of technical expertise, and stringent export control regulations, several countries are procuring advanced air-independent propulsion or air-independent power (AIP) equipped conventional submarines to augment their undersea warfare capabilities. These submarines are capable of operating submerged for extended periods and are equipped with specialized weapons, sensors, which enable them to conduct land attacks, undertake ISR missions, and support special forces operations.
Chowdry concludes: “Even though the US, Russia, and China are likely to remain the dominant players in the global submarine market, other countries such as India and Australia are also investing in advanced submarine capabilities. As the submarine market continues to evolve and expand, it is likely to have significant implications on global security, particularly for performing roles such as naval deterrence, securing sea lanes of communication (SLOC), and littoral operations.”
Photo image: iStock/ Michael Stifter