Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems Association chairman highlights new opportunities in global civil marketplace

The emergence of a global marketplace for civil unmanned air vehicles has the potential to revitalise the UK aerospace industry as well as a variety of associated technical sectors, according to the chairman of the UK Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems Association Tim Willbond.

In a speech to be given to this week's Royal Aeronautical Society UAV Systems conference in London, Willbond will argue that the emergence of a civil UAV market will significantly disrupt market conditions in the aerospace sector as a whole. A national UAV capability roadmap addressing civil and military markets is needed to maximise UK industry opportunities, he says.

"The UK aerospace industry has been delivering further down the value chain that it did 50 years ago and that is a process of evolution... If you look back 50 years we were delivering more total systems than we would deliver now. I see this disruptive market as an opportunity for the UK industry to reposition itself in the value chain if it wishes to do so...There is an opportunity to reposition in the value chain in the worldwide aerospace industry."

Willbond adds: "There has to be an opportunity in a disruptive market to increase market share if first you understand the dynamics of a disruptive innovation process, and then respond to that in a way that is going to enable you to grab those opportunities and set up those value generating activities.

"The UK industry could gain a proportionally larger share of a UAV systems market than it currently has within the wider aerospace market, purely because the opportunities are there now to do so."

A national UAV industry roadmap would provide a focus for exploitation of the civil UAV market as it emerges, he says. "The segments and subsegments of the market will be as diverse and as specialised as the segments and subsegments of the manned aviation world at the moment. The diversity is actually increased when you think that you will be flying systems that you couldn't put a man into anyway, if you look at the mini and micro systems. That diversity is what...we have to make sure we can address coherently in terms of positioning UK industry."


Source: Flight International