The report “Combat Drone Market by Platform (Small, Tactical, and Strategic) Application (Lethal, Stealth, Loitering munition and Target), Type, Launching Mode (Air Launched Effect, Vertical Take-Off, Automatic Take Off) and Region – Forecast to 2028” The combat drone market is valued at USD 7.2 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 10.8 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 8.6%. The dynamic growth of the combat drone market is fueled by several compelling factors. Foremost among these is the escalating demand for precision strikes that minimize collateral damage.
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Capitalizing on their unmatched accuracy in targeting enemy positions, combat drones significantly reduce risks to civilians and critical infrastructure. Additionally, their real-time intelligence capabilities through surveillance and reconnaissance bolster situational awareness, playing a crucial role in informed decision-making during military maneuvers. Cost-effectiveness stands as another pivotal driver in the appeal of combat drones. Compared to traditional manned aircraft, drones boast lower operational costs and demand less maintenance, making them an enticing option for defense budgets. Furthermore, their inherent ability to mitigate risks to human life makes them highly advantageous in high-risk combat scenarios.
The continuous evolution of drone technology has yielded substantial enhancements in endurance and payload capacities, facilitating extended flight durations and the seamless integration of sophisticated weaponry. This versatility enables drones to undertake diverse roles, ranging from intelligence gathering to executing combat missions, further bolstering their promising market growth trajectory.
Based on Launching mode, the Automatic Take Off and Landing segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Based on the launching mode, the market is segmented into Air Launched Effect, Vertical Take-Off, Automatic Take Off and Landing, Catapult Launcher, and Hand Launched. The automatic take-off and landing segment includes drones that have the capability of taking off and landing autonomously. Drones capable of automatic take-off and landing are usually fixed-wing drones that need very short runways to take off and land. Fixed-wing drones that use automatic take-off and landing as the launching mode usually have an MTOW of 25 kilograms. Companies such as Northrop Grumman (US), Lockheed Martin (US), Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel), and General Atomics (US), among others, manufacture drones that use automatic take-off and landing-launching modes for various military applications.
Based on the Platform, small drones are projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.
Based on the Platform, the combat drone market is segmented into small, tactical, and strategic drones. Small drones include nano, micro, and mini drones that fly at an altitude of less than 350 meters. One example of a small drone is a Switchblade 300, a small loitering munition drone. It is about the size of a brick and weighs about 2.5 kilograms. The Switchblade 300 can be used to attack targets with a small explosive payload. Moreover, small drones are expected to witness increased demand from the defense sector for surveillance and reconnaissance activities and border security applications. These drones have efficient flight control systems and low operational costs. They have undergone technological advancements in recent times to suit military applications. However, the lack of proper air traffic management systems for the usage of drones and excessive safety risks in the form of large planes and ground installations such as fuel depots act as challenges for the growth of the small drone worldwide.
North America Region is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.
North America Region is expected to lead the market during the forecast period. North America registered the largest share in the combat drone market in 2023. This large share is attributed to the presence of a large number of military UAV manufacturers in the US, such as General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, and Northrop Grumman. Moreover, technological upgrades in armed UAVs have fueled the growth of the combat drone market in the US. In addition, the allocation of a high defense budget by the US government for the improvement of army, air, and naval forces capabilities is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report in April 2023, the department of Defense had spent a defense budget of USD 2240 billion in 2022.
Northrop Grumman (US), General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (US), Raytheon Technologies (US), Israel Aerospace Industries, Inc. (Israel) Airbus (France) are Key players in the Combat drone market. They have mainly resorted to contracts to drive their growth along with launching technologically advanced and cost-effective products.
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