The North American tactical UAV market is expected to exhibit a growth rate of more than 20% during the forecast period.
- The major factor that is likely to drive the market during the forecast period is the increasing demand for Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in the region. The ability of UAVs to track down and disable an enemy without coming in its site is a major advantage that is helping the growth of the market.
- Integrating technologies, like artificial intelligence, into the existing tactical UAV technologies may provide opportunities for the development of advanced tactical UAV systems in the years to come.
Key Market Trends
Military Segment Held the Largest Share in the Market in 2019
As of 2019, the military segment held the largest share in the market. Technological advancement is one of the key factors fueling the demand for tactical UAVs in the current battlefield scenarios. Tactical UAVs are traditionally used for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. With the incorporation of advanced technologies and advancements in sensor technologies, tactical UAVs have evolved to facilitate various combat demands and missions. Tactical UAVs are now being used for electronic warfare, along with wide-area surveillance. In addition to data transfer to both manned aircraft and ground stations, they are also being used for combat support. For instance, Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is equipped with AESA radar that has sensing and jamming capabilities. The ease of countering a target from a faraway distance with high accuracy and zero risks to the operator is making tactical UAVs a preferred choice in the battlefield. With the development of technology, the procurement and operating costs of these UAVs are also coming down, thus, propelling the adoption by militaries. This is currently helping the growth of the segment.
United States is the Largest Tactical UAV Market in the Region
The US is currently the largest market for tactical UAVs in North America. With the presence of major manufacturers, such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin, and the biggest defense budget in the world, the United States is currently the largest user of the tactical UAVs. The US Department of Defense increased its spending on electromagnetic spectrum operations and electronic warfare in the last five years. In 2019, the United States showed security concerns over some UAVs made in China or with Chinese components. This may propel the local manufacturing of tactical UAVs in the country. The United States is a proven global leader in producing advanced unmanned systems and a specialist in manufacturing UAVs with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to combat warfare. The requirement of a constant and superior ISR capability for its armed forces has stimulated the United States to invest substantially in unmanned air systems and related technologies. The HALE and UCAV programs are expected to dominate the procurement expenditure during the forecast period, as the US military expects to induct more tactical UAVs with enhanced endurance and additional weapon-bearing capabilities in the coming years. This will enhance the prospects for tactical UAVs in the country during the forecat period.
Northrop Grumman Corporation, General Atomics, Israel Aerospace Industries, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and AeroVironment Inc. are some of the major players in the market. Manufacturers are constantly striving to improve UAV sensors, including visual cameras, infrared detectors, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), inertial measurement units, gyros, and other sensors that provide more precise information for ISR applications. The focus on producing sensors that are smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, more reliable, more accurate, and more sensitive is expected to drive innovations in the market during the forecast period. Joint development of advanced tactical UAVs will facilitate the technology transfer, thereby, helping the growth of the players in the years to come.
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