Air Force Reaper UAS

Report sheds light on burgeoning defense drone market

It’s no secret that unmanned aerial systems such as the Predator and Reaper have become go-to tools for the Defense Department's counterterrorism fight.  And even with sequestration and spending cuts, the armed forces continue to deploy smaller, expendable, tactical UAS for various capabilities -- so much so military drone market saw a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent in the last five years, according to a recent Govini report.

The report, titled “Market View: Unmanned Aerial Systems in Defense,” found that defense spending on UAS was nearly $14 billion over the last five years, peaking in fiscal year 2012. That spending may even grow after the Defense Department’s recent announcement to increase the number of daily combat air patrols from the current 60 to 90 by 2019. 

The report also found that while the Navy contracts were most competitive, the Army contracts were most lucrative.  The Air Force’s contracts had the fewest number of bidders per award, due to the specificity of mission requirements. 

Four contractors make up 66 percent of the awards for UAS in the defense sector. Northrop and General Atomics make up 50 percent of the Defense UAS market; Textron came in third with 10 percent of the market and Boeing with 7 percent. 

A longer version of this article appeared on Defense Systems, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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