The global military apparatus is witnessing significant transformations and is leveraging technology trends to strengthen capabilities. Major trends include artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the internet of things (IoT) to optimize defense operations and augment military efficiency. Today, conventional warfare is increasingly being replaced by hybrid approaches that also combine cyber warfare and other frontiers. Emerging military technology trends are changing the battlefield in four aspects—connectivity, lethality, autonomy, and sustainability. Connectivity solutions address concerns about how combatants detect and locate their adversaries, communicate with each other, and direct operations. Advances in missile and weapons technologies increase lethality, making battlefield operations more effective. On the autonomy front, startups utilize robotics and AI to execute decisions with zero or minimum human interference. Lastly, startups are improving sustainability in the defense industry with technologies like additive manufacturing and electrification.
Innovation Map outlines the Top 10 Military Technology Trends & 20 Promising Startups
For this in-depth research on the Top Cleantech Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 1 036 global startups and scaleups. The result of this research is data-driven innovation intelligence that improves strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies & startups in the cleantech industry. These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2 093 000+ startups & scaleups globally. The platform quickly delivers an exhaustive overview of emerging technologies within a specific field as well as identifies relevant startups & scaleups early on.
In the Innovation Map below, you get an overview of the Top 10 Military Technology Trends & Innovations that impact companies worldwide. Moreover, the Military Technology Innovation Map reveals 20 hand-picked startups, all working on emerging technologies that advance their field. To explore custom insights, simply get in touch with us.
Treemap reveals the impact of the Top 10 Military Technology Trends
Based on the Military Technology Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the top 10 Military Technology Trends. AI is one of the most prominent trends as many nations and companies are increasingly spending more on AI research. The industry is also inventing novel weapons and accessory technologies. Similarly, robotics and autonomous weapon systems improve the combat effectiveness of the military as well as impact other trends in the industry. Also, there is a substantial rise in the use of the IoT technologies such as sensors, wearables, and edge computing. Cyberspace is another emerging front and startups develop both cyberattack and cyberdefense solutions. Furthermore, immersive technologies find use in military training and combat preparedness. Additive manufacturing boosts the manufacturing capacity for defense components. 5G is a crucial enabler of ultra-high-speed connectivity. Moreover, using blockchain the sensitivity of data & processes in the military is preserved.
Global Startup Heat Map covers 1 036 Military Technology Startups & Scaleups
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 1 036 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals that the US is home to most of these companies while we also observed high activity in the UK and Israel.
Below, you get to meet 20 out of these 1 036 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These 20 startups were hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Top 10 Military Technology Trends in 2022
1. Artificial Intelligence
The adoption of AI in defense enhances computational military reasoning for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The use of computer vision enables equipment safety management and empowers autonomous weapon systems, thereby reducing soldier casualties. By leveraging digital twin technology and machine learning, defense manufacturers test new military product iterations and enable predictive maintenance for military assets. With the deployment of swarm computing, startups are developing self-organizing intelligent systems that work collaboratively towards a strategic objective.
Axon Vision enables AI-based Situational Awareness
Israeli startup Axon Vision develops an AI-based decision-making engine. The startup’s product, edge360, uses computer vision to provide ground vehicles with complete and automated situational awareness. With an intuitive user interface (UI) and customized alert mechanisms, it detects, classifies, and estimates the whereabouts of threats in real-time. The startup’s solution allows tactical teams to navigate the threats and obstacles on the field.
Rebellion offers Mission-focused AI Products
US-based startup Rebellion builds mission-focussed AI products for the defense and security sectors. The startup uses machine learning and the power of data to deter threats and drive mission success. Its subscription-as-a-service model software products are used for achieving comprehensive battlespace awareness, executing autonomous missions, and cyber readiness. The software’s user-centric designs are built on open architecture and, hence, are compatible with existing hardware and software systems.
2. Advanced Defense Equipment
Militaries are developing more sophisticated and advanced defense equipment to counter emerging threats. Innovations ranging from hypersonic flight and directed energy weapons to space militarization are underway. Also, the defense industry is aligning its objective with achieving net-zero emissions. It is investing in battlefield electrification techniques through the use of electric propulsions in military aircraft as well as testing hydrogen fuels. Besides, defense organizations are also advancing research in biotechnology and nanotechnology for creating self-healing armors and other equipment.
Hermeus develops Hypersonic Aircrafts
US-based startup Hermeus builds Mach 5 capability aircraft. The startup’s Quarterhouse hypersonic jet is being designed to travel at a speed of 3000+ miles per hour. It uses a proprietary turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine and has both military and commercial applications. The technology is capable of serving air force missions for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Epirus advances Directed Energy Weapons
US-based startup Epirus develops directed energy weapons systems. It utilizes solid-state, software-defined high-power microwave technology to enable counter-electronics effects for a range of use cases. Featuring an open architecture, the product integrates with existing ground-based, maritime, and airborne systems for multi-layer protection against autonomous threats. The lightweight pods enable the destruction of critical electronic components, disabling drones.
3. Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS)
Protecting forces, increasing situational awareness, reducing soldiers’ physical and cognitive workload as well as facilitating movement in challenging terrains are a few crucial objectives for militaries. The integration of RAS technologies allows militaries to achieve these objectives and control terrain, secure populations, and consolidate gains. RAS is increasingly important to ensuring freedom of maneuver and mission accomplishment with the least possible risk to soldiers. The use of drones also enhances battlefield situational awareness. Moreover, multi-mission robots facilitate landmine clearance, search rescue operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and logistics support.
Anduril develops Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)
US-based startup Anduril offers an autonomous UAS for intelligent air support. The startup’s product, Ghost, is an advanced drone system that uses edge AI algorithms. It is man-portable, waterproof, and has a high payload capacity as well as being able to run a variety of missions in any environment. Ghost provides real-time surveillance, intelligence, and reconnaissance capabilities, creating a clearer common operating picture to make informed military decisions.
Spear builds Tactical Drones
Israeli startup Spear offers instant action drone-based systems. The startup’s tactical drones utilize computer vision, swarm computing, and mesh algorithms to achieve tactical superiority. The drones are suitable for instant launch from sea or land with both stationary and mobile platforms with a payload capacity of up to one kg. The drones are easy to operate and, hence, require minimal training and provide a tactical advantage to the ground and special forces.
4. Internet of Military Things (IoMT)
Applications of IoT in defense include connecting ships, planes, tanks, drones, soldiers, and operating bases in a cohesive network. This enhances perception, understanding in the field, situational awareness, and response time. Edge computing, AI, and 5G support the smooth flow of data across all branches of the military, and this strengthens the command and control structure. In IoMT, the sensing and computing devices worn by soldiers and embedded in their equipment collect a variety of static and dynamic biometric data.
Espre Technologies enables Network in Network (NIN) Communication
Espre Technologies is a US-based startup that offers a suite of sensor products for NIN communication. The startup’s chipsets enable wireless digital encryption of data along with 10x simultaneous transmissions. The underlying technology is embedded AI for smart threat detection and smart resource spectrum allocation. The network agnostic, secure & scalable communications are built for the battlefield of things and provide bidirectional communications.
Geosite offers Military Intelligence
US-based startup Geosite aggregates data from different sources for both human and machine analysis. The startup’s collaborative military system uses satellites, IoT, and field sensors to build a common operating picture. Data visualization, along with management dashboards, offers the advantage of information superiority to plan and execute operations. It aids forces in comprehensive intel for situational awareness, tracking threats, marking ranges, and mapping target areas.
5. Cyber Warfare
Military systems are often vulnerable to cyber-attacks which could potentially lead to the loss of classified military information and damage to military systems. Over the past several years, the frequency and severity of cyberattacks have steadily increased. Prescriptive security technology uses cybersecurity, AI, and automation to detect potential threats and stop them before they impact defensive cyber warfare capabilities. Connected military equipment security, cyber protection for major institutions as well as in nuclear security are major areas of focus. Militaries are also developing offensive cyber warfare capabilities ranging from malware and ransomware to phishing attacks.
HarfangLab provides Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
French startup HarfangLab deploys cyber defense solutions to protect critical infrastructure environments for national defense. The startup’s technology is built on ultra-robust programming, offering both high computing speed and enhanced security. Its EDR software assists in the supervision, automatic detection, investigation, and neutralization of cyber threats. The open-by-design structure enables the software to easily integrate with existing cybersecurity solutions in any organization.
Cyber Forza offers a Unified Cyber Defense Platform
US-based startup Cyber Forza provides a unified cyber defense platform. The startup’s product has both defender and interceptor capabilities. While the former tackle external threats, the latter addresses internal threats. The platform also provides AI-based distributed denial of service (DDoS). Moreover, it enables real-time monitoring, phishing fraud defense, and protection from ransomware and malware attacks.
6. Immersive Technologies
Immersive technologies make it easy to build immersive, repetitive, and flexible experiences, such as for flight or combat training. Startups use virtual reality (VR) to construct synthetic training environments (STE). These experiences augment conventional training and mission rehearsal, improving the readiness of soldiers and units. Beyond training opportunities, augmented reality(AR) makes on-field soldiers more effective in their missions. Wearable glasses or augmented reality headsets provide soldiers mapping information, movement markers, and other data. This enhances real-time situational decision-making for the ground forces.
GOVRED enables VR-based Training
US-based startup GOVRED builds VR-based training solutions for the military. The startup utilizes HTC Vive headsets and custom code to create scenarios running at 90 frames per second. This allows users to move around a 25 square meter area, interacting with multiple scenarios. The startup’s proprietary training technology provides the military with a full line of firearms training and combat simulators.
Red 6 offers AR-based Combat Training
US-based startup Red 6 develops the Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System (ATARS), a solution for AR-based combat training. The system combines AR and artificial intelligence for air combat military training applications. It brings virtual and constructive assets into the real world, allowing pilots and ground operators to see synthetic threats in real-time, outdoors, and high-speed environments. The technology is scalable to multi-domain operations and assists squadrons in enhancing readiness and lethality.
7. Additive Manufacturing
Reducing the weight of defense equipment is crucial for improving performance in speed, capacity, and fuel consumption. 3D printing enables the production of components and parts while utilizing significantly less material than traditional manufacturing. It reduces production costs and enables new design engineering possibilities and localized, on-demand production, reducing the logistical burden. Moreover, it facilitates the creation of novel material combinations for armors, self-heating military clothing, and ammunition.
Accreate Labs offers Aerospace-grade Components
Indian startup Accreate Labs prints aerospace-grade components for aerospace and defense sectors. With additive manufacturing, the startup makes complex end-use parts as well as custom production tools like jigs and fixtures. The startup’s solutions boost factory productivity and workers’ safety as well as make the production process cost-effective.
Rapid Application Group manufactures Mission-critical Parts
US-based startup Rapid Application Group produces mission-critical parts for the aerospace and defense industries. The startup provides a range of additive manufacturing solutions such as selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, digital light printing, and injection molding. Its application-based approach enables rapid prototyping and quality assurance of hardware parts.
8. Big Data Analytics
The future of warfare relies ever so more on information and the ability to derive insights from it. Militaries with the capabilities to extract the most vital data, accurately and quickly analyze it, and then rapidly and securely disseminate the information will have a strategic advantage. Big data analytics unlocks insights from the various data sources to do just that. Quantum computing finds applications in cryptanalysis and running simulations for informed decision-making. Analytics also enables the efficient interpretation of data gathered from the IoMT infrastructure. Moreover, predictive analytics deters threats and improves the safety and efficiency of dangerous tasks.
Q-CTRL advances Quantum Computing
Australian startup Q-CTRL offers cloud-based software for maximizing performance in quantum computers. It utilizes quantum computing for various defense applications. The startup’s solution enables cryptographic analysis and sensor-based detection of underground hardened structures and hidden weapons systems. Moreover, it facilitates quantum-enhanced navigation in GPS-denied battlefields through atomic accelerometers.
Delfox provides Predictive Technology
French startup Delfox provides predictive technology to automate tasks in complex environments, such as for multi-actor cooperation. The technology leverages deep reinforcement learning to learn from data from previously encountered situations and adapts accordingly. The startup’s products enable maneuvering for unmanned vehicles and the detection and communication of relevant information in a timely manner to the forces.
Appropriate and timely information is extremely critical to military operations. 5G technology, due to its fast speed, accelerates real-time decision support in the military. It promises hyper-converged connectivity and enhanced secured data networks. This enables new command-and-control applications and streamlines logistics. Further, 5G networks facilitate the transfer of massive amounts of data to connect distant sensors and weapons into a dense, resilient battlefield network. This provides instant situational awareness as well as enhances training and battlefield capabilities.
Niral Networks builds Private 5G Infrastructure
Indian startup Niral Networks provides private 5G Infrastructure for last-mile connectivity. Its open and disaggregated network operating system, NiralOS, facilitates 5G and edge computing products. NiralOS integrates with any off-the-shelf white box hardware. For defense organizations, the 5G infrastructure enables rapid and cost-effective digital transformation at all fronts.
WiGL provides Wireless Electric Charging
WiGL is a US-based startup that offers wireless electric charging via targeted energy through the air. The startup’s patented technology uses a mesh network of wireless transmitters. It converts any wall outlet, vehicle charger, or power source into a smart electric power router. Communication occurs device-to-device using 5G or Wifi. With wireless charging, IoMT devices are no longer reliant on the availability of batteries.
Blockchain provides data security while allowing relevant data to be shared with all concerned parties. This is why defense startups are building blockchain-based solutions for protecting confidential military data and countering cyber threats. Other applications of blockchain technology in the industry include device tracking, streamlining the procurement process, and supply chain security. Smart contracts significantly reduce the risk of fraud or corruption while dealing with defense contractors.
Taekion enables Military Data Protection
US-based startup Taekion develops technology for military data protection. It leverages blockchain to secure defense data in tamper-proof storage. The UNIX-style distributed file system has built-in compression, encryption, and deduplication features and integrates seamlessly with existing infrastructure. The technology offers military-grade protection for information security at all levels. Moreover, the digital box feature enables forensic investigations after any cybersecurity attacks.
3IPK provides Blockchain Process Management
Slovakian startup 3IPK offers a process management system for the defense and aerospace industries. It combines blockchain with data analytics and artificial intelligence. The solution automates the supply chain and maintenance processes. Moreover, it enables smart contracts that increase traceability and transparency, thereby leading to efficient process management and quality control.
Discover all Military Technologies & Startups
It is important to realize that the landscape of war is changing at an exponential pace with new disruptive technologies. Lethal autonomous weapons, intelligent systems, and AI are major drivers for both defensive and offensive military capabilities. Hyper-converged and secured connectivity with 5G and blockchain make military communication safe and robust. From the development of hypersonic jets and directed energy weapons to quantum computing, these trends will have major implications on how militaries operate. This is why defense startups continue to develop military modernization solutions and dual-use technologies that have both military and civilian benefits.
The Military Technology Trends & Startups outlined in this report only scratch the surface of trends that we identified during our in-depth research. Among other technologies, brain-computer interfaces, space militarization, and nanotechnology will transform the sector as we know it today. Identifying new opportunities and emerging technologies to implement into your business early on goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage. Get in touch to easily and exhaustively scout relevant technologies & startups that matter to you.