North America is the leading region in the military drone market with the revenue share of over 70% in the year 2016. The growth of the market is attributed to the increasing adoption of the drone in the U.S. for the military and government application. For instance, the U.S the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security is using drone for law enforcement and police investigation. They are also planning to use drones for disaster management and firefighting application.
Military Drone Market is estimated to surpass the fleet of 18 thousand units with the revenue of over 13 billion by 2024.
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The increasing demand of the UAVs for combat and surveillance operations is the primary factor driving the military drone market growth. The government across the countries are increasingly procuring the drones for enhancing their armed forces and safety and security. Moreover, the rise in internal and external threat across the globe and terrorist activities are also impacting the market to grow government sector. Furthermore, the rise in investment in the drone technology especially from developing economies for strengthening their military is increasing the need for drones. However, the safety and security issues associated with the drones is estimated to be the major constraint in the growth of the military drone market. Also, the stringent regulations on the use of drones is impacting the market revenue.
The market of the drone used for VLOS operation are estimated to grow with the CAGR of 16.4% during the forecast period. The growth of the market is attributed to the demand of the VLOS drone in government applications such as traffic monitoring, police operations & law enforcement, and firefighting & disaster management application. The maximum limit for VLOS is different in countries as specified by the local aviation authorities. In Europe, the maximum VLOS is typically set at not more than 400 ft. AGL (above ground level) vertically and 500 m horizontally. Drone operators in Australia are required to maintain a VLOS and fly below 400 ft. AGL. With prior approvals and air traffic control clearance, flights above 400 ft. are allowed only in designated areas of controlled airspace.
The drone with the payload between 25KG and 150KG is dominating the military drone market with more than 50% revenue share in the 2016. Their ability to perform critical missions such as surveillance mission, rescue operation, support to ground forces and traffic monitoring are the major factors augmenting their demand in the market. Furthermore, their high versatility and high tactical capabilities is also estimated to foster the demand.
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The demand from government applications, especially for traffic monitoring and police operation & law enforcement is driving the military UAV market. The traffic departments around the world have started testing and deploying drones to monitor and manage urban traffic systems. For instance, in December 2017, the police department in Dubai launched drones to monitor the traffic on the roads. These drones use 4G technology and are controlled by officers from the Dubai Command Room. They also provide a live broadcast of traffic jams during peak hours enabling quick dispatching on patrol units to ease the congestion.
Drones used as UAVs or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) by armed forces are making significant contributions to their warfighting capabilities. In war zones, drones enable enemy tracking, reconnaissance of unknown areas/buildings and force protection. As these machines are becoming increasingly smaller, quieter, lighter with better optics, increased battery-life, fuel capacity, and flight times, militaries are expected to deploy more drone-based attacks and defense systems to avoid the risk of harming human resources
Asia Pacific region is estimated to grow fastest in the military drone market with a CAGR of 17.6%, owing to the increase in the use of UAVs in countries such as Japan, China, Australia, and India, where there are opportunities in abundance for traffic monitoring, border management, and surveillance. South Korea is estimated to emerge as a market leader in drone technology in the APAC region because of its government's firm commitment towards heavy investment in drone for varied applications and use cases.
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Some of the prominent vendors of the military drone market are BAE Systems Inc., Aerovironment Inc., Boeing, General Atomic, China Aerospace, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., Leonardo, Northrop Grumman, Textron Systems. And Lockheed Martin.