The global high energy laser market was rated at 7.43 billion USD in 2020 at USD 16.40 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 12.4% from 2021 to 2027. High-energy lasers have played a crucial role in modern society with an increasing number of applications in manufacturing, communication and defense. With increasing defense budgets and research grants, militaries around the world are adopting high-energy laser-based equipment and investing heavily in research and development. In May 2021, the U.S. military began testing a prototype laser weapon for short-range air defense; the weapon is a 50 kilowatt high-energy laser attached to a Stryker A1 vehicle that can locate, lock on, track, and destroy aerial threats.
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Much of the R&D and application of technology is driven by the defense industry, with major nations keen to develop and introduce the technology as part of their forces and operations. According to SIPRI, global defense spending reached a record high of $1.98 trillion in 2020, an increase of 2.6% over the previous year. Such developments should pave the way for new technologies and modernization. With the proliferation of drones in the defense sector, the demand for solutions to track and destroy them is gaining ground. For example, in March 2021, European missile manufacturer MBDA and French company CILAS agreed to collaborate with electronic warfare and intelligence specialist SIGN4L to explore co-development opportunities in the field of laser weapon systems. high energy to destroy drones. These developments are expected to intensify further in the coming years.
The increasing use of drone systems in the defense sector has also increased the demand for solutions capable of effectively neutralizing the threats associated with them at high speeds, where the use of high-energy lasers has increased as a means of deterrence. For example, the US Navy worked on an Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) program, which is a non-lethal weapon capable of confusing drones instead of shooting them down, and it became part of the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical -dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) from Lockheed Martin, in development since 2018.
Global High Energy Laser Market Dynamics
Drivers: Growing Demand for Laser Weapon Systems in the Navy and Growth in Non-Lethal Deterrents
The demand for laser weapon systems in navies around the world is growing at a rapid rate to deal with airborne threats, such as missiles and drones. Lasers have proven effective against missiles and are being deployed as the first safety net. For example, Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical Glare and Surveillance, or HELIOS, is set to be permanently deployed aboard a Flight IIA DDG Arleigh Burke destroyer 2021; the US Navy has officially accepted the laser into the Aegis Combat System.
Additionally, laser-based weapons are being tested to disable drones by integrating such weapons on board warships. For example, in May 2020, the USS Portland successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle while testing a new high-energy laser weapon system. Northrop Grumman developed the system; the test was carried out after the incident with the Chinese destroyer, where a military-grade laser was fired by a US Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft.
Constraints: Regulatory compliance and high cost
A large part of these solutions are still being developed and improved, and R&D investments have a significant impact on the cost of these solutions. To develop such systems, vendors are subject to strict regulations; moreover, industries that adopt these systems as part of their operations adhere to these rules. For example, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the United States and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) define the meaning of each laser class. When it comes to using high-energy lasers, safety regulations should be top of mind for every business.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) uses directed energy as an umbrella term covering technologies related to producing a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy, and these are categorized under four different types of laser weapon systems , high power microwave (HPM), particle beam and high power sonic. Since DEWs are not authoritative under international law, they are classified as “non-lethal” or “less lethal” weapons.
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The study categorizes the high-energy laser market based on application, product, and regions.
By Application (Sales/Revenue, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- Cut, weld and drill
- Military and Defense
- Other Apps
By Product Type (Sales/Revenue, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- gas laser
- chemical laser
- excimer laser
- Semiconductor laser
- fiber laser
By Region (Sales/Revenue, USD Million, 2017-2027)
- North America (United States, Canada, Mexico)
- South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Rest of Latin America)
- Europe (Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Rest of Europe)
- Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, Rest of Asia-Pacific)
- The Middle East and Africa (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, North Africa, Rest of MEA)
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Cutting, welding and drilling, by application, account for the largest market share in 2020
Based on application, the global high energy laser market has been segmented into cutting, welding & drilling, military & defense, communications and other applications. Cutting, welding and drilling accounts for the largest share of market revenue in 2020 and recorded a CAGR of 13.4% in the global high energy laser market during the forecast period. High-power laser welding or cutting application system technology is for high-speed, high-precision process, focusing on key issues, such as expanding the range of scanning process, precision , light weight and high long-term processing stability. The high-power laser cutting machine can expand the plate processing thickness range. At the same time, the utilization rate of the machine is increased. For example, a high power laser cutting machine can do the work of a small and medium power cutting machine. For high power laser welding, applications have grown steadily in recent years as, like laser cutting, the many benefits of laser processing are recognized and exploited to produce better products at greater productivity and lower cost. Laser welding is versatile and applicable to assembling miniature electronic components or welding steel structures over 1 inch (25 millimeters) thick.
Asia-Pacific accounts for the highest CAGR over the forecast period in the high-energy laser market
Based on region, the global high-energy laser market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia-Pacific has a growth rate of 12.8% during the forecast period 2021-2027. The Asia-Pacific region is one of the leading adopters of high-energy lasers in various fields with market growth, driven by major countries, such as China, India, and Japan. US-China tensions, cross-border disputes, and an emphasis on nuclear energy have driven the adoption of high-energy lasers in defense and military systems in various countries in the region, such as India.
Additionally, the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization announced its intention in September 2020 to form a national program on directed energy weapons including high energy lasers among others. The DRDO is currently working on chemical oxygen-iodine lasers and high-power fiber lasers and is considering a $100 million budget from the Department of Defense for the 2021-2022 budget, which targets the production of laser weapons of high power. This expenditure for high energy lasers is expected to have a positive impact on the market growth in the country.
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Main market players
Key players in the high energy laser market include TRUMPF Pvt. Ltd, IPG Photonics, Coherent Inc., nLight Inc., Bae Systems PLC, Alltec Gmbh, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Applied Companies Inc., The Boeing Company, Lumentum Holdings, Bystronic Laser AG, Wuhan Raycus Fiber Laser Technologies Co. Ltd, Raytheon Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Han’s Laser Technology Co. Ltd.
- In December 2020, TRUMPF PVT. LTD merged its wholly owned fiber laser manufacturing subsidiary, SPI Lasers in Southampton, UK, into the TRUMPF Group and branded TRUMPF. The company has also incorporated all of SPI Lasers’ fiber laser technologies into its product portfolio.
- In March 2021, COHERENT INC.? Conclude a new acquisition agreement with II-VI; Coherent is terminating the March 9, 2021 merger agreement between Coherent and Lumentum and paying Lumentum the termination fee of $217.6 million specified by their merger agreement.
- In October 2020, THE BOEING COMPANY partnered with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) to jointly pursue opportunities for a scalable 100 kW class High Energy Laser (HEL) Weapon System (HEL) to 250 kW supporting a variety of air defense and missile applications. The partnership aims to combine the directed energy portfolios of both companies with the construction of a HEL solution capable of providing combat-ready protection for the warfighter.
- In September 2020, LOCKHEED MARTIN announced that it was developing airborne tactical laser weapon solutions that complement kinetic defenses to protect combatants in the air and on the ground. It should defeat small rockets, drones, small attack boats and light ground vehicles