UAV payload market worth US$2.96 billion in 2012 – report

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The global market for unmanned aerial vehicle payloads and subsystems will be worth US$2.96 billion, slightly up from the previous year, according to a recent report.

Visiongain predicts that the UAV payload and subsystems market will reach a value of $2.96bn in 2012, as more technologically advanced payloads become integral to a range of military and civilian UAV operations, amongst both established and emerging nations.

The UAV Payload and Subsystems market is forecast by Visiongain to record strong growth over the next decade, as the inherent cost and deployment advantages associated with UAVs continue to run in parallel with the development of payloads that are increasingly efficient, advanced and offer maximum mission value.

The Visiongain author of the UAV Payload and Subsystems report commented that “The next decade will see the continued use of UAVs for a variety of complex and dangerous military operations. UAV Payloads and Subsystems are an essential part of overall UAV spending, with nations seeking to utilise the ‘low cost/high capability’ benefits of UAVs, and UAV payloads to undertake both ISR and attack operations.”

In March last year the Teale Group predicted that the payload market for UAVs would be worth US$2.6 billion in the 2011 fiscal year, but would increase to US$5.6 billion in FY2020.

Particular areas of growth will be in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and signals intelligence/electronic warfare (SIGING/EW) technology, according to Dr David Rockwell, author of the Teale Groupe study.
“The payload portion of the 2011 study includes many new systems and system types, with expanded coverage of SIGINT/EW and SAR markets,” said Rockwell. “Few now question the US Air Force’s claim that ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) is the centrepiece of our global war on terrorism, with production beginning for major endurance UAV systems such as MP-RTIP and ASIP; new RDT&E programmes such as wide angle EO/IR systems, and a variety of ground and foliage-penetrating radars, and future development efforts to bring large-aircraft capabilities to small UAVs; tactical and mini/micro/nano-UAVs will continue to offer some of the best electronics opportunities over the next decade.”

Meanwhile, the world aerospace and defence industry is expected to earn revenues of US$399 by 2015, according to a report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA).

The commercial unmanned aerial vehicle market will grow by more than 700% by 2018, to reach US$2.8 billion from US$363.7 million at present, according to a study released last month by Global Information Inc. Growth is expected to come as the lighter and less expensive devices are performing commercial tasks remotely, with less cost and more versatility than is available in any other manner.

Global Information notes that battlefield technology has always found pathways to Wall Street, as businesses find novel applications for military innovations. Cell phones and GPS devices, for example, were developed with military uses in mind, but developed into significant commercial technologies, eventually becoming ubiquitous even in civilian life. While Unmanned Aerial Systems may not become as prevalent in civilian life, commercial uses for this previously military-exclusive technology is are becoming more clear and prevalent.