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UAV market set to triple in value in next decade

A new report predicts that the global market for unmanned air vehicles will more than triple in value over the next decade, with growth fuelled by the emergence of recreational and commercial models alongside the continuing production of established military types.

Consultancy Teal Group claims in its latest market study that the current $4 billion generated annually by the UAV market will grow to $14 billion over the next 10 years, with sales over the period totalling some $93 billion. Military research and development on UAVs will add a further $30 billion to the total.

"The market for UAVs looks very strong, increasingly driven by new technologies such as the next generation of unmanned combat systems, and the development of new markets such as civil and consumer drones," says Philip Finnegan, Teal Group's director of corporate analysis and an author of the study.

The paper notes that in its ten-year projection, the military accounts for 72% of the market, followed by consumer UAVs at 23%, and 5% from the civil/commercial sector.

“Of the three areas, civil UAVs grow most rapidly over the forecast period as airspace around the world is opened, but it grows from a very low base,” the report notes.

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As airspace opens, the use of UAVs for commercial applications - such as parcel delivery - will increase

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It says the USA will account for 64% of total military R&D spending on UAV technology over the next decade, and some 38% of the military procurement. The strength of this market is attributed to the larger, higher-value systems procured by the country, Teal says.

Notably, Teal is including consumer UAVs in its analysis for the first time, as it claims that the commercial and recreational markets for UAVs are becoming blurred. "Consumer UAVs are showing that they can do many of the easier commercial missions such as simple real estate photography," it says.

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