Combat drones are also known as Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs). A Combat drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle, which is used for surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence and target acquisition, and carries aircraft ordnance such as ATGMs, missiles, and bombs in hard points of drone attacks. These drones in real time are normally controlled by a human with autonomy. UCAVs are used for both battlefield intelligence and drone strikes, unlike reconnaissance aerial vehicles and unmanned surveillance. This kind of aircraft will not have an onboard human pilot. Since the vehicle is controlled by a remote terminal, the human pilot and equipment is not required, which in turn results in a smaller and lighter aircraft.
Major factors driving the growth of the market
The changing nature of warfare, which is advanced, is driving the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle market to grow, even though factors such as anti-drone technology’s rapid development may impede the growth. The changing nature of warfare, which is advanced, will add fuel to the growth of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles. Many nations are focussing on the development of UCAV for counter-insurgency and domestic warfare, which are widely used to monitor border regions, which are disputers, and at low cost enhance security. Many countries and contractors are investing in research and development activities to deploy a large number of UCAVs to enhance their capability to avoid anti-air weapons and to fight against hostile nations. The growth prospects for the global drone market is increased using the development of long-range spy combat drone. The long-range strike capability of the UCAVs includes the fusion of control, computers, surveillance, computers intelligence, and reconnaissance systems into UCAVs.
Trends influencing the growth of the market
The fixed-wing segment has the highest share and the highest CAGR in the future period. This is especially due to the increase in investments in the development of complex delta wing and delta wing UCAVs with advanced combat capabilities that can fly at extreme speeds. Countries like The US, China, Israel, Russia, India, and Iran have made their investments in such combat vehicles. Presently, China is using stealth technology in unmanned platforms and is unveiling more variants of UCAV. China recently announced that the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) develops Cai Hong 7, a UCAN that is high altitude. Similarly, Russia also unveiled, the prototype for Okhotnik, which is a heavy unmanned aerial vehicle. These kinds of developments created high demand in the future period.
In military applications, there is increased use of UCAV, which surged the use of UAV in disaster relief operations, and improvements in frameworks regulatory related to aerial operations are the factors driving the growth of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).
The major reason hindering the growth of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) is the lack of skilled persons for operating drones and issues related to the safety and security of the drone. UCAV is integrated with artificial intelligence and machine learning and ongoing technological advancement in UCAV gives Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles more opportunities. UCAV finds its applications in artillery fire direction, lasing targets for fighter planes, Surveillance, gathering electronic intelligence, and post-strike damage assessment. For over a decade, drones are being employed in military forces of different countries. The most popular one is Predator UCAV. On a routine basis, ground forces are using combat drones. UCAVs military expenditure is expected to grow as a total percentage of military budgets, which offers growth opportunities to software developers and specialized drone manufacturers. A budget request primary analysis resulted in the identification of billions of research and development projects, drone-related procurements, and production. For surveillance operations, various drones are solely designed. Some drones are designed to do critical operations such as carrying munitions. Some countries use UCAV for carrying munitions for defense forces
A proposal is approved by the South Korean government to manufacture reconnaissance and surveillance drones by 2031. These drones are manufactured and procured to enhance the country’s military capabilities especially, on the northwestern border island. With the contract value of USD 49.7 million, Boeing decided to convert retired U.S Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 jet fighters into manned and unmanned target drones.
The Indian government is now considering the purchase of an indigenous long-range unmanned aerial vehicle with strike capabilities being developed by a private Indian firm in partnership with an Israeli defence manufacturer after putting the American predator drone deal on hold due to a push for the Make in India initiative. According to the original plans, India was going to buy 30 American Predator high-altitude, long-endurance drones with missile-capable strike capability, to be split among the three services evenly.