Drones in Aerospace and Defense - Thematic Intelligence

Drones in Aerospace and Defense - Thematic Intelligence


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)-colloquially known as ‘drones’—have been a much-used part of advanced militaries’ arsenals for many decades. From the RQ-2 Pioneer used in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm, to the MQ-9 Reaper used in current conflicts in Syria, the US, in particular, has led the way in the development and utilization of unmanned capabilities. This has been due in part to the high financial threshold for R&D, and subsequent export controls on US platforms. However, other producers are beginning to develop viable, affordable platforms, subsequently increasing the horizontal proliferation of unmanned capabilities. The growth of drone technology in the wider consumer and commercial markets has further altered the cost calculus of drone operations, facilitating the development of novel concepts and programs focusing on the potential benefits provided by relatively low-cost, ‘attritable’ UAV platforms.

This newfound focus has reinvigorated the development of novel military UAVs such as loitering munitions, as well as research into the dual-use potential of consumer drone technology. Loitering munitions in particular are a rapidly expanding segment within the unmanned systems market, combining the benefits of unmanned autonomy and precision-guided munitions within a single platform. The loitering munitions market will benefit from increased modularity, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the use of swarm technology, and increased sensor capabilities in the next ten years. Simultaneously, recent conflicts have illustrated the utility of repurposing consumer drone technology for defense applications, with the implications of this trend beginning to influence both tactical and strategic considerations within global defense circles.

GlobalData estimates that the global military UAV market will expand from a value of $10.927 billion in 2023 to $17.963 billion in 2033, growing with a CAGR of 5.10%. The global drone market was worth $15.2 billion in 2020 and will reach $89.6 billion by 2030, with the strongest growth coming from commercial drones, which will record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.6% between 2020 and 2030, rising from $3.4 billion in 2020 to $57.0 billion in 2030.

Key Highlights
  • Studies of emerging technological trends and their broader impact on the defense market.
  • Analysis of the various drone programs and projects currently under development, as well as the diverse range of applications and use cases for this technology in both the civil and military domains.
Who Should Buy
  • Our thematic research product, supported by our thematic engine, is aimed at senior (C-Suite) executives in the corporate world, decision makers, and institutional investors.
  • Corporations: Helps CEOs, CTOs, and other senior executives of companies understand this key theme, the competitive environment, and the market opportunities.
  • Investors: Helps fund managers and other major investors focus on investment opportunities in defense and understand the market around drone technology.
  • The key defense challenges that forces and defense sector suppliers face are covered.
  • The investment opportunities for armed forces, suppliers, and institutional investors, across the whole drone technology value chain are covered.
  • Highlights from the range different drone related research and development programs currently being undertaken by various military organizations and defense companies.
Reasons to Buy
  • Determine potential investment companies based on trend analysis and market projections.
  • Gaining an understanding of the market challenges and opportunities surrounding the drones in aerospace and defense theme.
  • Understanding how spending on drones and related segments will fit into the overall market and which spending areas are being prioritized.

Executive Summary
Technology Briefing
Anatomy of a drone
Propulsion system
Flight control system
Drone classification.
Technology trends
Macroeconomic trends
Regulatory trends
Industry Analysis
Market size & growth forecasts
Global market analysis
Defense market analysis
Mergers and acquisitions
Patent trends
Hiring trends
Case studies
Current military UAV roles
Future military UAV roles
Use of unmanned platforms in Ukraine
Value Chain
Drones as a service
Drone insurance services
Consumer drones
Commercial drones
Military drones
Public companies
Private companies
Sector Scorecards
Defense sector scorecard
Who’s who
Thematic screen
Valuation screen
Risk screen
Further Reading
GlobalData reports
Our Thematic Research Methodology
About GlobalData
Contact Us
List of Tables
Table 1: Drone classification
Table 2: C-UAS industry producers to communicate the targets their systems are intended to counter
Table 3: Technology trends
Table 4: Macroeconomic trends
Table 5: Key regulatory trends impacting the drones theme
Table 6: Mergers and acquisitions
Table 7: Public companies
Table 8: Private companies
Table 9: Glossary
Table 10: GlobalData reports
List of Figures
Figure 1: Who are the leading players in the drones theme and where do they sit in the value chain?
Figure 2: Anatomical characteristics of drone platforms
Figure 3: By 2030, drone revenue will have reached $89.6 billion
Figure 4: HAPS market overview
Figure 5: Global military UAV market value ($ million), 2023-2033
Figure 6: Global military UAV market value by segment ($ million), 2023-2033
Figure 7: Sub-sector split of global military UAV market by market share – 2023 vs 2033
Figure 8: Military UAV cumulative market value by country ($ million), 2023-2033
Figure 9: Top UAV patent assignees by volume, 2004-2023
Figure 10: UAV patent publication trends, 2004-2023
Figure 11: UAV-linked hiring trends by volume, 2020-2023
Figure 12: MQ-25 Stingray
Figure 13: Heavy Lift Challenge
Figure 14: B-21 Raider
Figure 15: The drones in defense story
Figure 16: The drones value chain
Figure 17: Drones value chain - Airframes: Leaders and challengers
Figure 18: Drones value chain - Components: Leaders and challengers
Figure 19: Drones value chain - Semiconductors: Leaders and challengers
Figure 20: Drones value chain - Software: Leaders and challengers
Figure 21: Drones value chain - Services: Leaders and challengers
Figure 22: Consumer drones - Leaders and challengers
Figure 23: Commercial drones - Leaders and challengers
Figure 24: Military drones - Leaders and challengers
Figure 25: Who does what in the defense space?
Figure 26: Thematic screen
Figure 27: Valuation screen
Figure 28: Risk screen
Figure 29: Our five-step approach for generating a sector scorecard

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