The Sonobuoy Market Would Expand at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2023 to 2033

Sonobuoy Market Outlook (2023-2033)

It is estimated that the market for sonobuoys will generate US$ 1,002.5 million in 2022 and US$ 1,080.7 million in 2023. The sonobuoy market is predicted to reach US$ 2,661.9 Mn by the end of 2033 and will grow at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2023 to 2033.

Sonobuoys are pieces of technology that capture underwater noises and send those signals to the people for whom they were designed. Sonobuoys are mostly used in the defence, military, and research industries. They are used to locate and identify submarines and other types of submerged equipment, to find schools of fish and gauge their population, and to monitor volcanic activity beneath the sea.

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Sonobuoy Market Size (2023) US$ 1,080.7 Mn
Projected Market Value (2033) US$ 2,661.9 Mn
Global Market Growth Rate (2023-2033) 8.6%
Active Segment Market Share (2022) 56.6%
U.S. Market Share (2022) 15.6%
Detection & Tracking Market Share (2022) 48.7%

Developments in Sonobuoy Market Landscape

Increasing spending on military and defense has created demand for various supplies, from ammunition to detection and radar systems. Radars and other detection systems have gained massive demand in recent years. Use of sonobuoys is also gaining traction as navies are the world are aiming to strengthen their defense against submarines.

  • Recently, Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. announced an order worth US$ 71.3 Mn for multi-static sonobuoys for airborne ASW operations. The order, placed on 28th July 2021, is to ERAPSCO in Columbia City, Ind., for 20,000 AN/SSQ-125 multi-static sonobuoys.
  • Northrop Grumman has partnered with sonobuoy designer Ultra Electronics to advance its efforts in creating sonobuoy dispensers for ship-based unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Engineers at Northrop Grumman are testing the feasibility of its MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter to carry as many as 40 sonobuoys on a mission. The prototype was recently tested off the coast of California in a mock combat scenario.

Market Overview

Sonobuoys are acoustic sensors built on the principle of Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) system, for detecting the presence of submarines, sunken ships, oil and gas deposits, etc. They are carried in a Sonobuoy Launch Container (SLC) in ships and aircraft for pneumatic or free-fall launch.

They are built with hydrophones or transducers for converting sound signal to an electrical signal and transmitting it to the patrolling aircraft or ship. On the basis of operation, they are classified into passive and active sonobuoys. Sonobuoys are manufactured in sizes A and B. Size A sonobuoys have dimensions of 4.75” x 36”, whereas size B sonobuoys have dimensions of 6.875” x 60”.

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Market Dynamics

Sonobuoys are acoustic sensing systems, released in the ocean from an aircraft or ship, for detecting sound signals underwater. These anti-submarine warfare systems consist of hydrophones, which are used for listening and recording acoustic signals emitted from other submarines. These signals are sent back to the aircraft or ship using radio transmitters in the sonobuoys.

Early detection of enemy submarines can help prevent potential attacks and loss of resources. These factors are driving naval forces around the world to deploy sonobuoys, and hence driving the growth of the global sonobuoy market.

Some sonobuoys are used for echo sounding, to measure the depth of a water body. Sonobuoy transmits a sound wave that gets reflected back from the seafloor. The time it takes for the wave to travel back to the ship is recorded and used for calculating depth and thickness of the seabed, identifying composition of the layers in the seabed, and detecting salt domes and seeps.

Overtime, salt accumulates to form a dome from where oil and gas pipe can be extracted. As oil and gas are valuable resources, various governments are making major investments for installation of sonobuoys to locate sand domes and seeps, thereby driving the growth of the global sonobuoy market.

Sonobuoys detect presence of enemy submarines, and transmit the signal back to aircraft or ship. For locating accurate position of the submarine, sonobuoys are launched in a particular pattern.

Hence, each sonobuoy is required to be assigned a different radio frequency for transmitting signals. These sonobuoys can only be launched by ships and aircrafts that have sonobuoy launchers. Technicians on these aircrafts and ships need to continuously monitor these received signals to prevent potential threats.

Monitoring and analysis of acoustic signals transmitted by these sonobuoys needs employment of skilled technicians. Thus, various additional costs are associated with sonobuoys, apart from initial purchase costs. Most governments of underdeveloped economies are unable to afford such expenses, which adversely affects deployment of sonobuoys.

Governments of various countries have laid down certain regulations for deployment of sonobuoys. These regulations are set to limit the use of sonobuoys in areas where marine life exists and this is expected to act as a restraint for the global sonobuoy market.

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Competitive Landscape

Most of the companies that manufacture and sell sonobuoys are weapon manufacturers and the customers are usually defence forces and governments. Many of these clients, already have a set of suppliers and usually purchase their equipment from them, the orders require years to be delivered and the sonobouys are sold to them in large quantities. Unstable relations between countries could negatively influence the business for sonobuoy manufacturers.

  • In September 2022, US Navy ordered 126,000 sonobuoys form ERAPSCO for US$ 181.9 Mn. The purpose of this transaction was for the replenishment of the inventory of the US Navy’s anti-submarine warfare equipment.
  • In July 2020, it was reported that US Navy had started working on the development of a new sonobuoy that could detect the new submarines that have jamming systems and quiet in their operation that allow them to avoid being detected.
Key Players:

  • Radixon
  • Thales Group
  • Sealandaire Technologies, Inc.
  • General Dynamics Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Ultra Electronics Group
  • Sparton Corporation

Key Segments of Sonobuoy Market Industry Research

By Type:

  • Passive
  • Active

By Application:

  • Detection & Tracking
  • Safety & Security
  • Oil & Gas
  • Others

By Size:

  • Size A
  • Size B
  • Others

By Region:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • East Asia
  • South Asia Pacific
  • Middle East and Africa

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