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Sonobuoy Market by Technology (SAR, DICASS, CASS, Others), Type (Active, Passive), Application (Detection & Tracking, Safety & Security, Oil & Gas, Others), Size (A, B, C), Deployment (Spring, Pneumatic, Free Fall, Cartridge) & Region – Forecast till 2023

Market Scenario

A sonobuoy is a compact, expandable, and air-deployed acoustic sensor designed to be dropped from an aircraft. As it enters the water, it separates into an underwater acoustic sensor and an on-the-surface radio transmitter, and relays underwater acoustic signals to detect the aircraft and track submarines at sea. The radio frequency transmission is received and processed to detect, locate, and track submarines in sea. It provides the airborne platform with the capability of using underwater sound to determine if an enemy submarine is present. Technology advances in submarine and antisubmarine sensors would require highly accurate sonobuoy systems. Significant investments have been made on the development of sonobuoy systems, which would lead to rapid growth of the market during the forecast period. However, major restraint of the sonobuoys is the limited capability to detect stealthier submarines in littoral zones and impact of sonobuoys on marine life.

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Moreover, procurement of unmanned underwater vehicles, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) systems, and acquisition of sonobuoys for marine mammal research has bolstered the growth of the market. Maritime disputes between China and the U.S., such as the East China Sea dispute, have increased the need for deployment of sonobuoy in waterways. For instance, in 2018, ERAPSCO signed a contract with the U.S. Navy to manufacture and supply sonobuoys.

The increased need for cost-effective ASW systems will offer new growth opportunities to the market players. The factors responsible for the growth of the global sonobuoy market are the growing usage of unmanned underwater vehicles, increase in the efficiency of sonobuoy, and rise in maritime disputes. Several contracts have been signed to bolster the growth of the market. In 2013, General Dynamics signed a contract with Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) to provide next-generation acoustic processing systems. In 2015, Ultra Electronics signed a contract with the Royal Navy’s marine to supply sonobuoys for maritime patrol helicopter.


The global sonobuoy market has been segmented by technology, type, application, size, deployment, and region. Among technology type, Low-Frequency Analysis and Ranging (LOFAR) is the most widely used and have the largest market share due to increasing demand for technology advancement in antisubmarine sensors. On the basis of type, the passive sonobuoys segment is estimated to witness the largest demand during the forecast period, owing to their ability to prevent the detection of a tracking aircraft by a submarine. On the basis of application, the detection and tracking segment is expected to witness the largest demand during the forecast period, owing to increase military expenses by countries towards strengthening their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. On the basis of size, the size A segment is estimated to witness the largest demand during the forecast period, owing to increasing demand for lightweight sonobuoy.

On the basis of region, the market is segmented into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America is expected to dominate the market in the coming years, due to the presence of major manufacturers and increasing military expenses. Asia Pacific follows the North America region in the global sonobuoy market and is estimated to trail North America during the forecast period due to the rise in maritime disputes and increased government spending by countries, such as China. Furthermore, the Chinese government had increased the investment due to a dispute over territory among Brunei, Phillippines, and Malaysia. The global sonobuoy market is estimated to witness a CAGR of 8%, from 2018 to 2023.

Key Players

The key players in global sonobuoy market are General Dynamics Corporation (U.S.), Radixon (Australia), Sparton (U.S.), Thales Group (France), Ultra Electronics Group (U.K), SeaLandAire Technologies Inc (U.S.), Lone Star Electronics Co. (U.S.), Lockheed Martin Corporation (U.S.), ERAPSCO (U.S.), and Sigma Pi-Power Sources Pvt Ltd (India).

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