U.S. military UAS spending will top $6 billion between now and 2023. So predicts consulting firm Frost & Sullivan in its analysis of the market. On Monday, the company noted that the demand for UAS will only increase “as combatant commanders grow accustomed to receiving 24/7 battlefield surveillance and will demand more as adversaries embrace innovative equipment and technologies.” Frost & Sullivan predicted that Pentagon was particularly interested in “small tactical UAS” due to their multi-mission capabilities and reduced logistics and operational requirements.
“Growth opportunities exist in developing and adopting advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that enable swarming, autonomous flight, and automated data processing and exploitation. Disruptive innovations including autonomous drones, transitional drones, and manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities will also drive growth in the market,” said Michael Blades, Frost & Sullivan’s defense research director. The company said that the market presents opportunities for companies able to develop autonomous-enabling hardware and software, provided interoperability across domains with existing systems, and could offer UAS as a service that included platforms that were modular, easy to upgrade, and could be deployed rapidly. Blades warned that the current global trade disputes could hinder market growth. “UAS market competitors must be aware of potential changes to trade agreements and foreign sales rules and have contingency plans for if/when they are implemented,” he said.