The unmanned combat aerial vehicle market is anticipated to grow, registering at a CAGR of above 8%, during the forecast period.
- Drones were primarily used for patrolling and reconnaissance. However, with their growing requirement as well as the increased risks involved in the operations, the existing UAVs are being armed and converted, for combat missions. This conversion of reconnaissance drones will propel the growth of the market, during the forecast period.
- The increasing defense budgets and the territorial disputes between many nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & African regions, are the major reasons for the development of combat UAVs.
- With the increasing demand for combat drones, the companies and the governments are investing in new and innovative UCAVs, with advanced target detection and identification capabilities.
Key Market Trends
Fixed-wing Segment to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The fixed-wing segment of the market currently has the highest share and is expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This is mainly due to the increase in investments in the development of delta-wing and complex delta-wing UCAVs, with advanced combat capabilities, that can fly at supersonic speeds. Countries, like the United States, India, China, Iran, Israel, and Russia, among others, have invested in such combat UAVs. China is currently using stealth technology in unmanned platforms and is unveiling more UCAV variants. The country recently announced that the state-owned China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) is developing Cai Hong 7, a high-altitude UCAV. Similarly, Russia unveiled the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter), a heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Such developments in the UCAVs are expected to generate high demand for this segment, during the forecast period. Moreover, the development and deployment of suicide drones are expected to boost the growth of the segment, during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific Region to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period
The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to register the highest growth, during the forecast period. This is majorly due to the increasing military spending of the countries in this region. The political tensions between the nations are the major reasons behind the increased military spending. The countries are investing in the procurement of UAVs that have combat capabilities, along with capabilities for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) missions along their borders. For instance, in February 2019, the Indian Air Force announced its plans to procure 54 Israeli HAROP loitering munitions systems that can search, detect, and attack time-critical and high-value mobile targets on land or at sea. Also, the indigenous developments of UCAVs, by the companies in Australia, China, and India, are further expected to propel the growth of the market, during the forecast period.
The prominent players in the unmanned combat aerial vehicle market are The Boeing Company, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, General Atomics, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. The market is highly fragmented, due to the presence of many local players that are funded by the governments of the respective countries, for indigenous developments. The development of new UAV payloads that help in increasing the lethality of the drones, with better target hitting capabilities, will also support the growth of the UCAV market. The strategic investments by the key companies, for expanding their global presence, are expected to help them increase their market shares.
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