The market in military drones and sensors “will be one of the most dynamic growth sectors of the world aerospace industry this decade,” says the Teal Group‘s recent analysis.
“Teal Group’s 2020/2021 market study estimates that UAV production will increase from current worldwide UAV production of $5.6 billion annually in 2020 to $14 billion in 2029, totaling $95.5 billion in the next ten years,” says a press release. “Military UAV research spending would add another $64.5 billion over the decade.”
“New technologies and increased trade are coming together to drive the UAV market growth,” said Philip Finnegan, Teal Group’s director of corporate analysis and an author of the study. “The next generation of systems is being developed at a time when trade is growing thanks to liberalized US export rule, cheap Chinese exports and strong demand for armed UAVs.”
As military drones and sensors are increasingly crossover products with the commercial drone market, sector growth could have significant influence on the drone industry as a whole. In addition to the military drone market, sensors and payloads are part of the sector growth, including Electro-Optical/Infrared Sensors (EO/IR) – found in drones like FLIR’s Black Hornet, a drone that fits in the palm of the hand.
“Following a funding downturn in recent years as several legacy endurance UAV sensor programs ended, Teal forecasts a near-term rise in the “default sensor” EO/IR market, from $1.8 billion in FY20 to $2.3 billion in FY24…” says the press release.
The Teal study breaks out billions of dollars of classified and future follow-on sensor programs with annual forecasts. Dr. David L. Rockwell, Teal’s lead electronics analyst, says “it is important to forecast these programs as they make up an increasing share of the available market, even though they are in no public DoD documents and are not monetized in any online sources.” He notes that “Detailed speculative ‘available’ forecasts – totaling almost $43 billion for payloads through FY29 – are intended to give early warning of programs that are not yet in DoD budgets or even under public discussion – to allow Teal’s clients to plan ahead before the RFPs are out.”