bullet Gyroscopes and IMUs for Defense, Aerospace & Industrial: Market Report 2012-2017



Gyroscopes and IMUs markets 2012-2017

This report describes in detail each application in terms of market size, competitive analysis, technical requirements, technology trends and business drivers.

Publication date: 12 September 2012

Price: EUR 4,990


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Multiple technology changes are fueling booming market growth




NEW ENTRANTS USE GAME-CHANGING MEMS IMUs TO TARGET EMERGING MARKETS Inertial Measurements Units (IMUs) is a large industry traditionally dominated by defense and aerospace applications. 2011 was a stable year for IMUs with a market size of $1.75B.


We expect more dynamic growth in this market near term because of two factors:

  • In the defense and aerospace sectors: though the markets in the U.S. and Europe are best described as conservative and mature, many new programs are being launched in Asia, Brazil, and the Middle East.

  • Many new applications are fueling the growth of the IMU market, benefiting from significant technology evolutions, such as the continuous improvement of MEMS IMUs.

The IMU market is very concentrated; only a few big companies are dominant. Honeywell, Northrop Grumman and Sagem are the clear leaders, but many newcomers are coming in to play, looking to enter the market with low-cost MEMS-based products and a different approach to how things are done.



   IMU Market Share     





High-performance inertial sensors and systems is a dynamic market segment, as an ever-increasing number of platforms require stabilization, guidance or navigation functions. The 2011 market for high-performance gyroscopes was estimated at $1.29B, growing at a 4.3% annual rate, and is expected to reach $1.66B in 2017.


However, this growth will not be global. Indeed, the most attractive opportunities will be concentrated in a select few applications, geographies or technologies:

  • Defense applications still account for half of the market and most players expect this to remain about the same, as budget cuts made in the U.S. and Europe will be partially compensated by strong demand in Asia.

  • Commercial aerospace represents close to 25% of the market.  After a period of stability, an increasing number of business jet, helicopter and civil aircraft orders will drive renewed inertial systems growth, starting in 2013.

  • The remainder of the market (composed primarily of industrial, naval and offshore applications) will be the most dynamic area.  While it will take time to adopt new technol-ogies in the more conservative areas, new industrial applications are appearing with each passing day, benefiting from the increasing availability of low-cost inertial solutions.


   2010-2017 Gyro Market     




This report describes in detail each application in terms of market size, competitive analysis, technical requirements, technology trends and business drivers.




Currently, optical gyroscope technologies still dominate the market by a wide margin. In particular, Ring Laser Gyroscopes (RLGs) are largely used in navigation systems and tactical guidance; one example is the Honeywell HG1700 IMU.


Although RLGs will be robust for high-performance, Yole Developpement expects two other technologies to make a large contribution to 2011-2017 growth:  Fiber Optic Gyroscopes (FOGs), which are currently very popular for stabilization applications, and should rapidly progress to eventually replace other navigation technologies; and MEMS technology, which will have the largest impact on the industry.



2011 Gyro Market - Techno breakdown



New applications are enabled by low-cost MEMS sensors, and when it comes to tactical grade applications, a lot of progress has been achieved in just the past few years in terms of reliability. MEMS are now accepted in high-reliability environments, and are even starting to replace FOGs and other technologies in tactical applications. Of course, other technologies must be considered as well:  Hemispheric Resonant Gyroscopes (HRGs) are making progress and are now designed for navigation; Coriolis vibrating piezo gyroscopes are finding increasing success in a large variety of end-markets while new disruptive gyro technologies are still in lab-phase; and finally, DTG and other mechanical gyro technologies are still used in some retrofit systems for 2-axis stabilization systems or for gyrocompass,  but this trend points to a decline.

Many factors are shaping tomorrow’s competitive landscape:  technology capabilities, products’ maturity level, geography, value chain, and others.  As such, competition trends are carefully analyzed in this report.  Honeywell is still the global leader by far, with great success in RLG-based systems and successful deployment of MEMS technology.  Northrop Grumman, Sagem and other market leaders are next on the list with a variety of technologies and new product lines that should have big market impact.  Newcomers will play a role as well, from startup companies developing disruptive sensors, to MEMS manufacturers, IMU integrators and large end-users willing to pursue internal inertial technologies.

This report highlights market share analysis by application field and technology, as well as global company shipments and technology breakdown


  • Topic: Gyroscopes, Accelerometers, IMUs
  • Gyroscope technologies: Si/Quartz MEMS, FOG, RLG, DTG, other mechanical/vibrating gyros, HRG & emerging high-perf technologies
  • Accelerometer technologies: MEMS, Electromechanical, piezo & others
  • 26 applications analyzed:
    • 8 Industrial / Medical / Commercial Naval / Offshore segments
    • 6 Commercial Aerospace segments
    • 12 Defense segments
  • Historic data and forecasts - worldwide market metrics: 2010 – 2017  ($M, M units, ASP)
  • 2011 market share and company shipments
  • Performance level: industrial, tactical, short-term navigation, high-end navigation and strategic grade
  • 300+ sensor manufacturer and integrator companies are quoted in this report
  • Report is a PowerPoint presentation consisting of more than 280 slides
  • Includes Excel spreadsheets with main market data


Al Cielo, Analog Devices, AOSense, Arazim, Astrium, Autoflug, CASC China Aerospace, Colibrys, Doosan, Elektropribor, Emcore, Endevco, Epson Toyocom, Fitzoptika, Freescale, Garmin, GEM Electronica, Gladiator Technologies, Goodrich/AIS, Hitachi, Honeywell, IAI, iMAR, Innalabs, InterSense, InvenSense, iXBlue, JAE, Kearfott, Kongsberg, KVH, L3 Communication, Litef, Lumedyne Technologies, MEMSense, Microstrain, Moog/Crossbow, NG Italia, Northrop Grumman, Optolink, PCB Piezo, Perm, Physical Logic, Raytheon Anschütz, Sagem, SBG Systems, Schlumberger, Senlution, Sensonor, Sensorex, Silicon Design, Silicon Sensing System, STM, Systron Donner Inertial, Tamagawa, Teknol, Thales, Tokyo Keiki, Tronics, VectorNav, VTI, Watson Instruments, XSens…


This report is the third update of Yole’s best-selling “IMU Markets” report, which was first released in 2008.  This latest edition is a completely new version, with substantial changes since the last edition:

  • The scope of study is broader:  stand-alone gyroscopes and assemblies of 2 or 3-axis gyroscopes are accounted for in the market numbers

  • The market is quantified for each gyroscope technology, and each company’s yearly shipments are estimated

  • Market metrics are provided for each grade of gyroscopes:  each application is positioned according to performance level and corresponding market size

  • Applications are described in a more synthetic way in order to provide rapid access to key information (functions, specification, technical solution, geography, trends, and market evolution) and graphical representation of the industrial chain

This report combines the best of Yole’s knowledge in the high-performance inertial sensor industry. Yole regularly participates in industry conferences and tradeshows worldwide, and has close relations with most market leaders. This report’s data has been validated by industry experts and augmented by the expertise of Mike Perlmutter, a recognized expert in navigation. With a totally different format than before, this report synthetizes the status of the 2012 inertial sensor industry in a thorough and completely new way.



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