The Strategist

Forecast: The global military UAV market will reach $ 10 bln in less than 10 years

03/21/2018 - 11:50

After Islamists used commercial drones deliver ammunition to militants in Iraq and Syria, military-industrial complexes of different countries decided to catch up and began to introduce their own military drones.

The UK

Last year, SteelRock company presented the drone "Velvet Wasp" at the air show in Dubai. The UAv, which is ideally operated by two people, is capable of dropping a high-precision ammunition weighing six kilograms. The drone itself weighs about 17 kilograms, has eight propellers, four "foot-stands", a laser targeting system, an encrypted communication channel. It flies at a speed of 112 kilometers per hour, is unheard at 300 meters and is hardly visible on radars. The range is 100 kilometers. It is expected that this drone or its analog can be used already in 2020. In addition to bombs, the drone will be able to drop small parcels with medicines, ammunition and provisions, as well as act as a tool for electronic warfare against improvised explosive devices, flying over roads.

Another British company BAE Systems and Manchester University conducted tests of UAV MAGMA. This drone has no conventional flaps and other mechanical parts in the wing and tail unit. Control of the direction of flight goes through the distribution and direction of the exhaust flow of the jet engine. The exhaust is discharged and distributed through the nozzle slots in the wings and the nozzle slots at the main engine nozzle, which allows the drone to maneuver in the air. The creators of the machine say that the design becomes simpler, easier, more reliable, gives more space inside the machine. The manufacturer further plans to install a similar system of traction in a full-scale aircraft.


The vice-president of the American company Kratos, which manufactures drones that serve as targets for airborne assaults while training pilots for the US Air Force and its allies, said that his company believes that the future belongs to tactical drones. Kratos claims that they already have two models of such UAVs that will be used during the operations of the US Air Force in the conditions of the so-called "access restriction system" (A2/AD, Anti-Access, Area Denial) when airspace not controlled by US aviation. Under these conditions, every American military aircraft will be accompanied by up to four Kratos drones. They will act as false targets for enemy missiles, taking a blow at themselves. Drones at a cost of three million dollars will be destroyed by missiles at a cost of five million dollars, which in the end should affect the course of the fighting in general.

The States also continue to work on creating drones that can be chosen from an electronic catalog, and then 3D printed. The speed of creating and receiving a new UAV, specially tailored for a specific field task, is expected to be reduced to minutes or hours, instead of the usual waiting for weeks. In fact, the drones will be modular, and the US military bases will have 3D printers for the rapid production of those or other parts. Army researchers say that they are already testing such drones. Similar developments were carried out in the US Marine Corps already last year.


In Australia, the Ministry of Defense of the country reported on plans to create a futuristic center of "autonomous systems" in the state of Queensland. The project will cost $ 50 million. The annual budget for seven years will amount to eight million dollars. It is not known exactly where the center will be located yet, but research agencies, universities and industry representatives from Australia will also participate in its work besides the military. The center will also explore possibilities of artificial intelligence to make cyber-attacks and to control robots on the battlefield. In the field of project interests are also unmanned systems for the army, fleet and aviation of the country. It is expected that this center will be the prototype for launching a number of initiatives of this kind in Australia.

The market of military drones is growing

The research company Teal Group in its next annual forecast for the drones market reported that in 2026, the world will produce military drones worth $ 10.3 billion. For comparison, the number was $ 4.2 billion in 2017. For nine years, the total production of machines is estimated at 80 billion, of which 26 billion will be spent on scientific research. 60% of these surveys will be conducted in the United States.