The Middle-East and Africa small UAV market is anticipated to register a CAGR of above 5% during the forecast period.
- Commercial usage of small UAV is gaining steady momentum and has become the talk of the hour, as multiple industries are working with drones as part of their daily/regular business functions. This is one of the major driving factors of the small UAV market in the Middle-East and Africa.
- The relatively lower procurement and operational cost of small electric-powered unmanned aerial vehicles, when compared to that of manned aircraft (for tactical or commercial applications) is another factor propelling the growth of the market.
- The formulation of a regulatory framework that allows streamlined usage of drones in several countries is expected to open new market opportunities for drone usage in various applications.
Key Market Trends
The Commercial Segment is Expected to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The commercial segment of the market is expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. With the development of the emerging UAV market, new applications of the drones have emerged. Other than their use in the military, the countries are amending their drone laws to take the benefit of drones in the commercial sector. Recently, GACA, Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority introduced drone permits for both personal and commercial flights of drones. Due to the growth of the e-commerce market in this region, new collaborations are taking place to reduce the time needed between online purchases and package delivery. Additionally, in rural areas of Africa, where the reach for medical equipment and kits is limited, are utilizing the drones for the delivery of blood delivery services and vaccines required. The use of drones in agriculture is extending at a brisk pace to increase crop production along with other applications like early warning systems, disaster risk reduction, wildlife conservation etc. Such increasing applications, along with changing drone laws in the region, are propelling the growth of this segment during the forecast period.
Israel to Dominate the Middle-East and Africa Small UAV Market during the Forecast Period
Countries in the Middle East are facing territorial issues, as well as terror attacks, which has forced several countries in this region to enhance their aerial capabilities. There is a steep rise in the use of drones in this region over the past five years, due to its use in surveillance missions. However, the majority of the drones used or procured are large UAVs, like Hermes 450 and Hermes 900. Smaller drones are now gaining importance across the world. Israel developed Hero-30 that weighs less than 10 kg and can carry a one-pound warhead. It was developed by UVision Air Ltd. Israel’s Air Force has been operating UAVs of varying sizes and applications for decades, mainly for intelligence-gathering. Currently, the Israeli military force is turning its gaze to small drones manufactured by the likes of Israeli Aeronautics Ltd and Chinese company DJI. Most of the off-the-shelf drones used are manufactured by DJI, with the most widely used model being the DJI Mavic. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd developed the Firefly that weighs about 3 kg and capable of carrying a warhead weighing up to 350 grams. Recently, the Israel Army showcased interest to replace its Chinese DJI drones by locally made drones. This is primarily due to the difficulty faced to encode Chinese drones, which prevent their use in highly classified activities. The IDF is accelerating its development and procurement programs for advanced small drones to meet its future operational needs. Such developments and procurement plans may propel the growth of the small UAV market in Israel. Thus, the market is anticipated to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Some of the few prominent players in the Middle-East and Africa small UAV market are Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems Ltd., DJI, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Textron Inc. The growing commercial applications of small drones have led to new players to enter the market. The manufacturers are introducing new UAV models to support commercial and military applications. For instance, in October 2019, DJI launched DJI Mavic Mini, an ultra-light folding drone of weight about 249 grams for photography applications. In addition to this, the UAV manufacturing companies are collaborating with the service providers to further increase in drone-based services in this region. In the previous years, Eniverse Technologies, Fetchr, and Skycart have entered into a partnership to develop the autonomous drone delivery service in the Middle East. Such initiatives by the UAV companies may help in collective investments in new technologies, thus propelling the growth of the market.
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