The Future of the Civil and Military UAV Market

Published: 28 Jun 2011

By Marko Lukovic; Principal Consultant; Aerospace, Defence & Security

The speed of development and growth of UAV use has been uneven across global regions, with U.S. and Israel still very much leading the way. However, experience of using mature UAV systems on operational deployment has dramatically improved the understanding of the usefulness of UAVs in Europe and Asia/Pacific and this, in turn, is driving a steady growth rate across the military segment.

The success of UAVs in providing real-time information to military commanders has contributed to both mission effectiveness and in protecting personnel. It is UAV's effectiveness in these roles that has encouraged most advanced militaries to fully commit to the use of them, and this will drive rapid market growth during the next 10 years.

Figure 1: Expected Military UAV Revenues - Europe

Over the last decade, UAV manufacturers have moved beyond pure military sales and have shown a significant amount of interest in potential UAV applications in civil and commercial markets. In line with the prevailing trends across the defence sector, the military has acted as a first adopter of UAV systems and has demonstrated their utility, encouraging the idea of their use in a large number of non-military applications ranging from law enforcement and border security to earth observation and communications.

Historically, industry has often been accused of unrealistic optimism in expecting the rapid emergence of a viable civil and commercial UAV market. However, at the same time, industry has played an effective advocacy role in driving initiatives in the area, particularly in Europe and to some extent North America.

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