UAV production to remain profitable


NEWTOWN, Conn., April 17 (UPI) — Manufacturers of unmanned aerial systems will benefit from relatively higher price tags for the systems over the next 10 years, according to a market study.

Forecast International, a market analysis firm, said about 1,000 unmanned aerial vehicles of all types will be manufactured this year and production will rise to about 1,100 UAVs in each of two following years.

Production, however, is forecast to average about 960 for each of the seven years after that.

According to its 2014-2023 forecast, the value of production of UAVs will steadily climb, from about $942 million in 2014 to $2.3 billion in 2023. China manufacturer AVIC is expected to account for the largest share — $5.76 billion — of the 10-year market value because of production of hundreds of pricey UAVs, most of them for the domestic market. Northrop Grumman, which produces the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4B Global Hawk and the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton, is next in line at $2.58 billion.

Although the war in Afghanistan is winding down, which could dampen interest in new UAVs, other current events are actually stoking interest in them internationally.

Following Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea, Poland plans to expand its UAV fleet.

“Poland wants UAVs capable of carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance missions, as well as strikes on ground targets,” said Larry Dickerson, Forecast International’s senior unmanned vehicles analyst. “Warsaw will make a decision on purchasing new unmanned aircraft before the end of 2014, but an announcement could come much sooner.”

South Korea plans to acquire Global Hawk Block 30 UAVs to improve the country’s surveillance capabilities, the report said.

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