Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG 2015

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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18 unmanned systems inside   September/October 2015 AIR TECHNOLOGY AND MARKETS T hough entrepreneurs offering new quad- copters and ultra-lights seem to pop up daily, government filings show that some long-established defense contractors are success- fully transitioning their well-seasoned military aircraft into the crowded commercial market. According to filings with the Federal Avia- tion Administration (FAA) at least 10 companies have requested or received exemptions to oper- ate remotely piloted aircraft, commonly called drones, made by major defense companies in- cluding Lockheed Martin and AeroVironment. As of press time half of those requests have gotten a go-ahead and the pace may now be poised to quicken. The FAA has changed its process in re- cent months and once an aircraft has been vetted and approved for one application it is set to get a fairly swift go-ahead going forward. For defense firms the attraction to the com- mercial market is easy to understand. Military budgets overall are under pressure and commer- by DeeAnn Divis Analysis shows two frms are having particular success in attracting commercial buyers for defense- focused unmanned aircraft. Enhanced photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin cial operators generally have fewer wickets to run through to reach a decision. But there is more to it than simply hedging one's business case, suggested Michael Blades, senior analyst for the aerospace and defense industry at the market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Blade surveyed the global market for un- manned aircraft breaking it down into military, commercial and hobby markets. The sales for mil- itary Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) would reach an estimated $11.6 billion by 2020 accord- ing to his estimate. He gauged the commercial market—which he distinguished as including missions that operate at 500 feet or above and in- volve "long-term, high endurance" niche tasks— as reaching $5.4 billion by 2019 and $6.5 billion by 2020, he told the audience at the Drone Tech conference in Atlanta. Drone Tech was co-located with AUVSI's Unmanned Systems 2015. The hobby market, which Blades described as typified by the popular DJI rotorcraft, would DEFENSE FIRMS fnd commercial

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