We bring you bad news if you’re a living organism on planet Earth, but some champagne-popping good news if you’re part of the military-industrial complex: the global nuclear bombs and missiles market is set to skyrocket this decade, according to a cheerful new report from Allied Market Research.
The COVID-19 pandemic drained national defense budgets and disrupted the manufacturing of heavy weapons, but it looks like the industry is bracing for a sturdy recovery thanks to red hot geopolitical tensions and the increasing threat of border conflicts around the world.
The global nuclear bombs and missiles market was valued at $72.64 billion in 2020, but is projected to reach $126.34 billion by 2030, growing with a compound annual growth rate of 5.4 percent from 2021 to 2030, the report says.
North America and Russia dominate the global market, but the world could be on the brink of a massive rise from Asia, with India, Pakistan, and China all looking to bolster their arsenals and flex their geopolitical might.
Russia and the US are both set to up their nuclear arsenal, according to the report. In 2021, the US and Russia had 5,550 and 6,255 nuclear warheads, respectively, and those figures are expected to rise to 6,380 and 6,734 in 2030.
Superpowers aren’t expected to "go big" with their nukes, though. The report argues that there will be an increased demand for smaller nuclear warheads, which are quicker and easier to deploy. This is likely to involve so-called “tactical nuclear weapons,” which are designed to be used on the battlefield alongside conventional forces, as opposed to “strategic nuclear weapons,” which are designed to obliterate military bases, energy infrastructure, transport links, and economic centers from afar.
Active nuclear missiles and bombs accounted for more than two-thirds of the market in 2020, but the number of reserve and retired warheads is braced to grow by 2030, as per the report. This is primarily due to international treaties and consortiums discouraging nuclear weapons, which the report notes have a habit of hampering market growth.
At the very start of 2022, some of the main nuclear powers of the world — US, Russia, the UK, China, and France — issued a joint statement agreeing that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
“As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war. We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented,” the joint statement read.
This statement, however, was issued before one of the biggest geopolitical upsets of our time, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Let’s hope cool heads prevail and fingers stay off the red button.