The success of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in providing real-time information to military commanders has contributed to both mission effectiveness and personnel protection. Despite budgetary pressures, a number of factors will help drive demand. The Strategy Analytics Advanced Defense Systems (ADS) service forecasts that US expenditure for military unmanned aerial platforms is approaching $64 B, cumulatively, over the 2011 to 2021 timeframe, as described in the report, “US DoD Budget Implications for UAS Electronics Demand.”

While the global economic crisis has led to a reexamination of defense budgets, there remains concern for improved battle space integration, leading to support for the development of UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) platforms. This, in turn, will drive growth in the demand for EO-IR (electro-optic/infrared), radar, communications and EW systems and other associated electronics.

“Strategy Analytics analysis indicates that the UAS segment will maintain a growth trajectory, accounting for 31 percent of US DoD budget expenditure on aircraft platforms by 2021,” noted Asif Anwar, Director, Advanced Defense Systems. “The US military market for UAS platforms will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3 percent over 2011 – 2021.”

Eric Higham, ADS Service Director, North America, added, “EO-IR payloads for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as radar and communications, represented 75 percent of military electronics demand in 2010, which Strategy Analytics projects will grow to 80 percent by 2021. This will create a cumulative market opportunity approaching $21 B.”