When Market Segments Collide

by Larry Dickerson, Missile Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Harpoon Anti Ship Missile. Source: U.S. Navy

The anti-ship missile market is growing.  Despite this, the segment might not be around in the future.

The value of the anti-ship missile market will climb over the next 15 years.  This market will be worth about $20 billion from 2017 through 2031.  During this time, the market’s value of production will steadily climb, from $1.089 billion in 2017 to a peak of $1.467 billion in 2027; the market will slightly taper off in the outyears.

China will produce the most missiles, but Western firms and Russia will win the greatest number of individual export contracts.

Anti-ship missiles receive little attention from the defense media.  The systems are overshadowed by their anti-armor and strike counterparts, which are routinely hitting targets in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.  Anti-ship missiles have had few opportunities to shine in the last 20 years.  Nevertheless, these systems remain an important part of naval combat.

New systems are in development, but will not be available until the 2020s.  Rising costs have Europe considering a joint development effort to replace a plethora of existing systems.

Alas, nothing lasts forever.  The missile market is constantly evolving and the anti-ship segment could disappear in the future.

Today, different missiles perform anti-shipping and strike missions. For example, the Harpoon performs anti-ship missions and the SCALP-EG conducts strike missions.  Yet missiles capable of engaging a wider array of targets than their predecessors are growing in popularity.  The high cost of missiles is fueling calls for greater performance and targeting flexibility.  This situation could result in the merger of the anti-ship and strike missile market segments.

In the future, a single missile could be capable of engaging land-based targets just as effectively as surface warships.  Once a company’s missile system can meet a military’s anti-shipping and strike mission requirements, all competitors will need to follow suit and introduce similarly capable weapons.

The development of hypersonic missiles could offer a path for reaching this multimission goal.

Please feel free to use this content with Forecast International and analyst attributions, along with a link to the article. Contact Ray Peterson at +1 (203) 426-0800 or via email at ray.peterson@forecast1.com for additional analysis.


For a comprehensive survey and analysis of various missile markets, including 10- and 15-year production forecasts, as well as detailed, comprehensive reports on force structures of nations worldwide, please see Forecast International’s Missile Forecast. This service provides extensive coverage of the worldwide market for tactical and strategic missiles, both developmental and in production.