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The global UAV market generated $25.59 billion in 2018 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.45% during the forecast period, 2019-2029. Asia-Pacific is expected to showcase the highest growth rate during the forecast period.
Over the last decade, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been witnessing a massive transformation owing to the rise in technologies. A UAV is a part of unmanned aerial system (UAS) that also includes a controller on ground, and a communication system between UAV and controller.
In the present scenario, UAVs are adopting satellite communication (SATCOM), as there is an increase in the demand for UAVs to operate in beyond visual range of sight (BVLOS) range and secured communication link between UAVs and ground station. SATCOM not only provides wide range of connectivity in BVLOS but also enables a secured communication data link that is mission critical for military operations.
The UAV market is currently witnessing a high growth rate owing to the growing usage of UAVs for beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations, need for transferring large amount of data in real time, and need for secured satellite communication data link for military applications. In the span of three years (2017-2019), the industry has witnessed several product launches and research and development activities from UAV manufacturers and satellite communication service provider.
However, stringent rules and regulations from aviation authorities and vulnerability of satellite communication links from cyber-attacks contribute as major challenges for the market. The advent of new commercial applications in oil and gas and inspection sector is one of the the major factors expected to create lucrative opportunities for the market in the next ten years.
Some of the key players in the global UAV market are AeroVironment, Inc., Airbus S.A.S, BAE Systems, CybAero AB, Elbit Systems Ltd, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Parrot Drones S.A.S, Saab Group, SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd., Textron, Thales Group, and The Boeing Company. Moreover, a number of startup companies have ventured into the market to provide UAV solutions for varied application areas including the commercial sector.
In terms of value, the global UAV market with SATCOM capabilities accounted for $25.59 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a significant CAGR during the forecast period 2019-2029. The global UAV market has been segmented into three end user: military, commercial, and homeland security. The military segment acquired the largest share in 2018, owing to high prices of large UAVs used in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and combat targeting. However, the commercial segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period, as the market of UAVs to operate in BVLOS range for commercial applications is expected to start from 2021.
North America accounted for the highest share of the market in 2019 owing to the maximum number of UAV companies present in the region as well as high defense budget of the U.S. that proliferate the demand for military UAVs in the country. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period, due to the increasing terror activities in the South Asian countries.