The Middle-East and African small UAV market is anticipated to register a CAGR of above 5% during the forecast period.
- The commercial usage of small UAV is gaining steady momentum, 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, drones are being utilized 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, and wildlife conservation. Such increasing applications, along with changing drone laws in the region, are likely to propel the growth of this segment during the forecast period.
Israel to Dominate the Middle-East and African 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 has been 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 focusing on small drones manufactured by the likes of Israeli Aeronautics Ltd and the 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 is capable of carrying a warhead weighing up to 350 grams. Recently, the Israel Army showcased an interest in replacing its Chinese DJI drones with 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 African 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 entering 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, the UAV manufacturing companies are collaborating with the service providers to further increase the drone-based services in this region. In the previous years, Eniverse Technologies, Fetchr, and Skycart entered a partnership to develop the autonomous drone delivery service in the Middle-East. Such initiatives by the UAV companies may help in garnering collective investments in new technologies, thus propelling the growth of the market.
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