(Reuters) – The global market for nuclear missiles and bombs should surpass $126 billion within ten years, up nearly 73% from 2020 levels, according to a report by Allied Market Research on Monday, as Russian aggression in Ukraine spurs military spending.
The value of the market would jump 72.6% from the Portland-based research firm’s estimate of nearly $73 billion in 2020, when COVID-19 delays and reallocation of funds to support the health crisis “severely affected” the defence sector.
An increase in geopolitical conflicts and bigger military budgets would likely push the figure up at an annual compounded rate of 5.4% until 2030, the report said.
U.S. President Joe Biden last week requested a record peacetime national defence budget, which would prioritise modernizing its nuclear “triad” of ballistic missile submarines, bombers and land-based missiles.
The report predicted that demand for small nuclear warheads, which can be easily deployed through aircraft and land-based missiles, would fuel faster growth in these segments, although submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) accounted for a quarter of the market in 2020.
While North America dominated more than half the global market in 2020, the report predicted the fastest growth would come from the Asia-Pacific region on initiatives by India, Pakistan and China to bolster their nuclear arsenals.
“However, international treaties and consortiums discourage nuclear testing,” the firm said in a report summary. “This hampers the market growth.”
It predicted that the rising influence of non-nuclear proliferation treaties and national efforts should increase the number of warheads in storage or awaiting dismantlement.
Active weapons, however, accounted for the “lion’s share” – more than two-thirds – of the market in 2020, it said, due to investment in nuclear arsenals and new warhead purchases.
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States at the start of the year issued a joint statement saying there could be no winners in a nuclear war and it must be avoided.
(Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Bernadette Baum)