Augmented Reality (AR) in Defense – Thematic Research

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The global Augmented Reality (AR) market was worth nearly $7 billion in 2020. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% during the forecast period.  AR is a technology that allows the user to see the real world overlaid with digital data. In defense, AR is currently primarily used in manufacturing and engineering. It is multifaceted, enabling workers to work more accurately, aiding remote assistance collaboration, and can replace paper manuals by providing step-by-step instructions. The advantages of remote assistance and instruction are also being adopted by military medics. As well as this, AR is becoming an increasingly important part of training for the military as simulated assets can be displayed as if in the real world. AR is being used in battlefield applications too, for pilots and infantry, to enhance a soldier’s situational awareness and reaction times.

AR market overview

AR market overview

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What are the value chains of AR in the defense industry?

The value chains of AR in the defense industry are semiconductors, components, devices, platforms, and apps and content.


Semiconductors are one of the key battlegrounds in AR today. Chipmakers are now striving to improve their existing capabilities to suit the evolving requirements of AR, mostly around screen resolution, frame rates, processing speed, and connectivity.


Much of the major action in AR components is around 3D sensors, cameras, audio, displays, and batteries. These components come together for positional tracking, motion tracking, gesture recognition, and machine vision.


AR-enabling hardware comes in various forms, including smartphones, eyewear, and AR headsets. For consumer AR applications, smartphones are the most used platform, while enterprises typically prefer AR headsets and AR smart glasses, which offer a broader range of functions.


Building an AR ecosystem by incorporating both hardware and software is essential for the long-term success of any company in the AR market. The five prerequisites for a successful AR ecosystem are Application programming interfaces (APIs) and SDKs, AR engines – games, AR engines – enterprise, AI, and application delivery networks (ADNs) and content delivery networks (CDNs).

Apps & Content

Content is a major area of concern for AR companies. Enterprises are an increasingly important area of focus for AR companies. Media houses and ecommerce companies have been early adopters of AR, while the technology is also used by healthcare, engineering, and military organizations. Microsoft, PTC, Deloitte, McKinsey, and Accenture are investing in AR development platforms to support firms through the AR implementation process.

Which are the key defense organizations associated with the AR theme?

The key defense organizations associated with the AR theme are Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy, Brazilian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, French Special Forces, Indian Army, Israeli Defense Forces, New Zealand Defense, Norwegian Army, British Royal Navy, British Army US Army, and US Navy.

Who are the specialist AR vendors in the defense industry?

The specialist AR vendors in the defense market are Augmenti, BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Red 6, Taqtile, Thales, and XMReality.

Market Report Scope

Market size (2020) Nearly $7 billion
CAGR 36%
Forecast period 2020-2030
Value chains Semiconductors, Components, Devices, Platforms, and Apps and Content
Key defense organizations Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy, Brazilian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, French Special Forces, Indian Army, Israeli Defense Forces, New Zealand Defense, Norwegian Army, British Royal Navy, British Army US Army, and US Navy
Specialist AR vendors Augmenti, BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin, Red 6, Taqtile, Thales, and XMReality

This report provides:

  • Overview of AR in defense.
  • Explanations for why AR will continue to grow in importance for the defense industry.
  • Outlines for the variety of uses AR has in the defense sector.
  • Examples of what companies and militaries are reacting to developments made in AR.
  • Defense companies and militaries that are leading in this theme, such as Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Elbit Systems and the US Army.

Reasons to Buy

  • To understand AR and its current and future impact on the industry.
  • To understand how AR is addressing key challenges that the defense sector is facing.
  • To identify the leading AR adopters and specialist vendors.

Lockheed Martin
Design Interactive Inc
Magic Leap
Red 6
Elbit Systems
BAE Systems
Northrop Grumman
Instro Precision

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Augmented Reality Value Chain

    • 2.1. Semiconductors
    • 2.2. Components
    • 2.3. Devices
    • 2.4. Platforms
    • 2.5. Apps and content

  • 3. Defense Challenges
  • 4. The Impact of Augmented Reality on Defense
  • 5. Case Studies
  • 6. Industry Analysis

    • 6.1. Market size and growth forecasts
    • 6.2. Mergers and acquisitions
    • 6.3. Mergers and acquisitions in ADS
    • 6.4. Partnerships
    • 6.5. Patent trends
    • 6.6. Company filings trends
    • 6.7. Hiring trends
    • 6.8. Augmented reality timeline

  • 7. Companies and Militaries
  • 8. Sector Scorecard
  • 9. Glossary
  • 10. Further Reading
  • 11. Our Thematic Research Methodology
  • 12. About GlobalData
  • 13. Contact Us

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