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The military drone market is set to grow from its current market value of more than $5 billion to over $13 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.
The military drone market growth is credited to increasing investments in the drone technology by military and defense departments. Governments across countries are spending heavily to increase their UAV fleet size.
The U.S. federal government has allocated approximately $4.5 billion for drone procurement in the 2017 budget proposal. The proposal indicates a paradigm shift in the technology, as the major drone procurement program was launched, with the funding assigned for new research and development.
Similarly, the government of India has also formed an alliance with General Atomics to deliver 22 sea guardian drones worth approximately US$2 billion.
The South Korean government has also announced a five-year plan to invest more than US$1 billion in the industry for the next five years.
The advancements in UAV technology will also foster the military drone market growth. The integration of advanced machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence in the drones will fuel their demand for traffic monitoring, surveillance, and spy applications. For instance, the U.S. Customs and Border protection is using drones for monitoring the Mexican-American border and the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are using drones for law enforcement and protection.
However, the safety and security issues associated with the use of drones and stringent government regulations across the countries are estimated to hinder the military drone market growth.
The military drone market adoption for border patrolling applications is gaining momentum due to their capability to effectively monitor borders without serious collateral damages and ensuring the safety of the border security personnel.
In September 2017, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency began testing small drones for border surveillance in operational sectors in Arizona, Texas, and Vermont. The drones were evaluated for their capabilities for intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, tracking, and acquisition in regions that are at a high risk for ground personnel and manned aircraft.
In November 2017, the Indian Army to maintain a strict vigil at the China and Pakistan border accepted tender inquiries for acquiring 600 mini UAVs. Due to consistent infiltration bids at the Pakistan border, UAVs will be procured for the infantry battalions of the Indian Army.
The Asia-Pacific military drone market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent during the forecast period. The growth of the market is attributed to the growing demand for the drones from the developing economies including India and China. China accounts for more than 50 percent share in the Asia-Pacific market, driven by the increasing investments by the Chinese government for the procurement of the drones. The government is focusing on enhancing the domestic production of drones to reduce the imports from the U.S. For instance, in July 2017, China started the production of the CH5 Rainbow that will cost half as compared to the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper.
The global military drone market is characterized by the presence of both major market players with diverse product portfolios and start-ups that provide niche products, solutions, and services. The major vendors in the military drone market are Aerovironment, Inc.; BAE Systems, Inc.; Boeing; China Aerospace; General Atomic; Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.; Northrop Grumman; Leonardo; Lockheed Martin; and Textron Systems.
Moreover, there is a stiff competition among innovation leaders as they are characterized by technological advancements to develop improved drone analytics and intelligence solutions, as well as strategic alliances.