Armed forces are expected to spend $11 billion over the next 10 years procuring reconnaissance/surveillance unmanned air vehicles, according to a new projection from Forecast International. The market-analysis firm expects more than 6,000 UAVs to be purchased between 2004 and 2013, with US companies taking more than 50% of the market by value.

European militaries are forecast to spend €1 billion ($1.23 billion) on UAV procurement, and a similar or higher amount on research and development, over the next 10 years. "European companies control just 5% of this market's value, but this share is expected to grow in the future," says Forecast.

Rival market analyst Teal Group is also projecting a rise in spending on UAV R&D and procurement, from $2 billion in 2005 to $4.5 billion by 2015. Teal estimates the USA will account for 90% of R&D and 70% of procurement spending over the next decade. The Middle East and Asia-Pacific are expected to be the main UAV markets outside the USA and Europe.

Frost & Sullivan, meanwhile, forecasts combined US and European R&D and procurement expenditure on UAVs will exceed €25 billion over the next 10 years. Driven in part by UAV demand, Frost expects the European military airborne radar market to grow 4.3% a year over the next 10 years, to $4.6 billion by 2013.

UAVs are the smallest but fastest-growing sector of the radar market, Frost says, driving demand for lower weight, volume and price and higher processing speeds.

Synthetic-aperture radar is a key growth area, the firm says, with UAV applications emerging in the civil arena. Frost has previously urged European manufacturers to become involved in the civil UAV market.

Source: Flight International