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Military Drone Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Type (Fixed-Wing, Rotary-Wing, and Hybrid/Transitional), By Range (VLOS, EVLOS, and BLOS), By Propulsion Type (Battery Powered, Fuel Cell, and Hybrid Cell), By Technology (Remotely Operated Drone, Semi-Autonomous Drone, and Autonomous drone), By Application (ISRT, Delivery and Transportation, Combat Operations, Battle Damage Management and Others) and Regional Forecast, 2019-2026

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102181



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The global military drone market size valued at USD 7.93 billion in 2018, is projected to reach USD 21.76 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 12.4% during the forecast period.

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 The military drone is defined as a remotely piloted unmanned aerial system. Military drones are used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition during battlefield operations. The market is projected to witness significant growth in the defense sector, owing to its high surveillance capability. The military drone market share is driven by factors such as battle damage management, combat operations, and delivery and transportation services across the globe. Militaries across the globe are procuring drones to support their combat missions. Growing demand to provide real-time images is also a propelling battle damage management application.

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Advanced defense technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, multi-sensor data fusion for UAV navigation, cloud computing-based services for military UAVs, and technological advancements in drone payloads are expected to support the market growth during the forecast period. Among these military drone/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market trends, cloud computing-based services are broadly adopted by the manufacturers. Such services are achieved by using an android-based smartphone. The data is achieved through a MySQL database. The user can easily get access to the UAV information from the database by using web browsers. These UAVs are controlled by using a specific flight plan that is defined through a waypoint in the database. Moreover, product innovations such as spy drone, mid-air refueling of drone, and anti-UAV defense system are the major upcoming trends in the military UAV drone market. However, the lack of skilled and trained workforce for operating military UAVs may restrain the growth of the market during the forecast period.


“Rising Territorial Disputes to Propel the Growth of Military Drone Market”

Nowadays, armed forces across the globe are focusing on strengthening their defense domain. Border security issues, as well as transnational security threats, are responsible for increasing the defense expenditure of the emerging countries. The countries in Asia Pacific are undergoing border disputes. These countries are focusing on strengthening their defense security. China is mainly focusing on strengthening its defense domain. For instance, in 2019, the Government of China spent around USD 177.61 billion on the defense sector for the development of infrastructure facilities of the armed forces and also to improve their combat capabilities. Similarly, India is also involved in spending a significant amount on its defense systems and infrastructure. In 2019, India spent around USD 61 billion on its defense sector.

Moreover, companies such as Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Technologies, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are looking forward to bagging contracts from the U.S. government. Government contracts are propelling the military UAV market growth during the review period.

“Increasing Preference for Modern Warfare Techniques to Fuel Growth”

The growing demand for the drone is estimated to accelerate over the forecast period due to the increasing need for military drone technology for surveillance as well as reconnaissance activities. Rising internal and external threats are compelling the government to use aerial imaging platforms to tackle the enemy-occupied areas and endorse public safety. Government agencies across the globe are supporting various drone manufacturers to develop high-tech drones for public safety. For instance, in December 2017, the French Defense Agency financed Elistair’s Airwatch project, a small drone-box used for aerial surveillance. This system supports law enforcement, crisis management, firefighting, and perimeter security.


By Type

“ Hybrid/conventional Segment to Grow Steadily Backed by their High Demand”

Based on type, the military drone market is segmented into fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and hybrid/conventional. Amongst these, the fixed-wing segment holds the largest military unmanned aerial vehicle market share due to the increasing demand for technologically advanced drones from several defense services across the globe. Also, the rising demand for these drones due to their surveillance range capacity would augment its growth. It can cover longer distances as compared to rotary-wing drones.

Additionally, the rotary-wing segment is expected to show lucrative growth in the market during the forecast period owing to increasing demand for small drones. The rotary-wing drone is able to work as a spy drone due to its small and compact design. Hybrid/conventional drone is generally used to carry heavy payloads. Perimeter 4 is an advanced hybrid drone built to surpass the flight time as well as range limitations. It is more compatible than a conventional military drone. It can achieve a maximum flight time of over five hours as well as a distance of 110 miles during the battlefield operation.

By Range

“EVLOS Segment to Exhibit Highest CAGR Owing to Usage in Several Applications”

Based on range, the military drone market is segmented into visual line of sight (VLOS), extended visual line of sight (EVLOS), and beyond the line of sight (BLOS). Amongst these, the extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) segment is expected to showcase the highest CAGR during the review period. This growth is attributed to the increasing use of EVLOS drones in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), as well as target acquisition applications. The beyond the line of sight (BLOS) segment is estimated to lead the market in the coming years. BLOS segment is cost-effective and has several applications. It helps the service providers to conduct complex drone operations without any human interference. BLOS flights are mainly used in the inspection of infrastructure, inventory management, and pipe inspections. Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) is majorly used to support critical missions, including search & rescue operations, surveillance, and battlefield management programs.

By Propulsion Type

Fuel Cell Segment to Lead Stoked by Increasing Demand from Armed Forces”

Based on the propulsion type, the global military UAV drone market is segmented into battery-powered, fuel cell, and hybrid cell. The fuel cell segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period owing to the rising demand for high endurance UAVs from the armed forces for reconnaissance and surveillance applications. For battlefield operations, armed forces need technologically advanced drones that are able to operate with maximum endurance time. Fuel cell accomplishes the requirement of maximum endurance. The US-1 is a battery-powered drone with a mass of 6.43 kilograms. It has a speed of more than 68 kilometers per hour and is able to fly more than 75 kilometers with every charging. It is designed and assembled due to concerns over privacy as well as national security. Hybrid cell is a combination of a fuel cell and a battery cell unit. It can work as an emergency back-up battery unit during the battlefield operation.

By Technology

“Autonomous Operated Drone Segment to Grow Significantly Fueled by Usage in the Aviation Industry”

Based on technology, the military drone market is classified into remotely operated drones, semi-autonomous drones, and autonomous drones. Amongst these, the remotely operated drone segment is set to hold the largest market share during the forecast period. It would occur because of the extensive usage of such drones in the aviation industry owing to stringent regulations monitored by the aviation authorities. Remotely operated drones encompass conventional features of operating a machine through a portable remote. This confirms that the drone is completely under the vision of a manual operator.

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Artificial intelligence is an upcoming trend that is able to create a technologically advanced autonomous drone. High-end programming is used for autonomous drones, including features such as automatic landing as well as take-off during combat military operations. The semi-autonomous drone has a dual property. Some of its operations are performed by manually operated portable remote and working operations such as image-capturing are done with the help of digital cameras included in the in-built programming.

By Application

“Delivery & Transportation Segment to Show High CAGR Owing to Need for Providing Supplies to Soldiers”

Based on application, the military UAV drone market is segmented into intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISRT), delivery and transportation, combat operations, battle damage management and others. The delivery and transportation segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. It is attributed to the increased adoption of UAVs for providing supplies to military troops as well as soldiers deployed in remote areas. The ISRT segment is likely to hold the largest market share during the forecast period. This growth is attributed to the augmented adoption of UAVs for military applications such as inspection, mapping, remote sensing, and monitoring. An unmanned combat drone is used in combat operations. It can carry aircraft ordnance such as missiles as well as attacking bombs to destroy the enemy communication stations. The military drone is also used for battle damage management. Neurala is an artificial intelligence-based neural network. It helps to identify large industrial equipment areas such as telephone towers as well as army communication centers. It can generate a real-time damage report. Increasing usage of a military drone for combat missions is anticipated to boost the market.


North America is the largest market in the military drone and projected to be dominant throughout the review period. It would occur due to the rising investments in the field of military drones for developing high-tech drones to support several military applications. Increasing research and development (R&D) activities, coupled with venture capitalist activities in the field of UAVs are propelling the growth of the military drone market in the U.S. Besides, the increasing usage of military drones for border surveillance as well as maritime surveillance activities in countries such as the U.S. and Canada is projected to boost the market in North America.

North America Military Drone Market Size, 2018

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Asia Pacific would also showcase considerable growth in the military UAVs and is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This growth is majorly attributed to the high demand for military drones from countries including China, India, and Japan. The Chinese military mainly focuses on the development of technologically advanced military drones to ensure the security of its widely spread international borders. Recently, Japan developed advanced UAVs for combat military operations. They are primarily used for ballistic missile tracking. Furthermore, the Indian government and the aerovironment collaborated to manufacture Raven, an advanced hand-launched drone. Increasing defense spending of armed forces in the region is also projected to boost the military UAV market revenue in this region during the forecast period.

The Middle East & Africa would also exhibit a lucrative opportunity for military drone. Israel is the largest exporter of military drones for the defense sector across the globe. In Turkey, increased deployment of UAVs and their sub-systems are anticipated to boost the market growth. South Africa is also adopting UAVs to carry out surveillance activities. The growing demand for rotary-wing drones for military applications in the region would also propel market growth. In Latin America, Mexico is developing a military drone that will be used to monitor forest fires. This, increasing usage of UAVs in the region for security mission would help in the growth of the market.


The key military drone companies present in the market have a comprehensive product portfolio and are partnering up with the governments across the globe. They have a wide geographic presence and are engaging in continuous R&D investment. Key players such as The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Technologies, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and others will strengthen the market position concerning the military drone industry.

Military drone manufacturers are majorly focusing on drone contracts with the government. Moreover, these companies are expanding their businesses by adopting comprehensive strategies such as mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, as well as focusing on the product portfolio.

List of Key Companies Covered:

  • The Boeing Company

  • Aeronautics

  • Thales Group

  • Textron Inc.

  • Raytheon Technologies

  • Saab AB

  • BAE Systems

  • General Atomics

  • Leonardo S.P.A

  • China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

  • Northrop Grumman Corporation

  • Elbit Systems

  • Israel Aerospace Industries

  • Aerovironment

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation


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The military drone market report offers in-depth detailed coverage of the market, which includes industry chain structure, definitions, applications, and classifications.  The market analysis mainly provides information for the international markets, including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, investment plans, business strategy, and opportunity.

Along with this, the report provides an analysis of the global market dynamics and competitive landscape for the key manufacturers of the military drone industry.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Fixed-Wing

  • Rotary-Wing

  • Hybrid/Transitional

By Range

  • Visual line of sight (VLOS)

  • Extended visual line of sight (EVLOS)

  • Beyond line of sight (BLOS)

By Propulsion Type

  • Battery Powered

  • Fuel Cell

  • Hybrid Cell

By Technology

  • Remotely Operated Drone

  • Semi-Autonomous Drone

  • Autonomous Drone

By Application

  • ISRT

  • Delivery and Transportation

  • Combat Operations

  • Battle Damage Management

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (The U.S., and Canada)

  • Europe (The U.K, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America)

  • Middle East & Africa (The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa, and the Rest of Middle East & Africa)


  • In December 2019, Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy signed a contract worth USD 251.5 million to supply four MQ-4C Triton drones. MQ-4C Triton is a high altitude, long-endurance drone majorly developed for the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS).

  • In August 2019, The U.S. Army awarded a contract worth USD 45 million to Aerovironment to develop RQ-11B Raven, a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS). The expected delivery is anticipated to be done by the year 2020.

  • In August 2019, Textron Inc. and the U.S. Army signed a contract worth USD 100 million to supply scout drones to replace RQ-7 Shadow drones.

  • In May 2019, QinetiQ and the Canadian Armed Forces awarded a contract valued at USD 39 million to deliver unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). It helps to raise situational awareness for the Canadian Armed Forces.                                                                

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global military drone market was valued at USD 7.93 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 21.76 billion by 2026.

Growing at a CAGR of 12.4% the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026)

The remotely operated drone segment is estimated to be the leading segment in this market.

Increasing demand for technologically advanced spy drone is the key factors driving the growth of the market.

The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and others are the top players in the market.

North America is projected to be the largest shareholder in the market.

Innovation of nano drones by using 3D printing technology is a new trend of the market.

Military Drone Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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  • 2018
  • 2015-2017
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