The Europe tactical UAV market is expected to register a CAGR of over 15% during the forecast period.

  • Countries in the European region are increasing their defense spending every year and are investing significantly towards developing their ISR capabilities. This is driving the development and procurement of advanced tactical UAVs in the region.
  • The ongoing partnerships between countries in Europe aimed at the development of advanced tactical UAVs is projected to drive the market growth in Europe during the forecast period.

Key Market Trends

Increasing Defense Spending of the European Countries Driving the Market Growth

Several countries in the region are increasing their defense spending. According to SIPRI, while Germany’s military spending rose by 10% to reach USD 49.3 billion in 2019, Russia increased its military expenditure by 4.5% to USD 65.1 billion. Also, there were sharp increases in military expenditure among NATO member states in Central Europe like Bulgaria and Romania. However, there is no major change in the defense spending of countries like France and the UK in 2019. Nevertheless, all these countries are investing huge amounts towards developing their ISR and EW capabilities, which is driving the procurement of tactical UAVs in the region. For instance, in February 2020, BlueBird Aero Systems announced that it had received an order from a European customer for the delivery of more than 150 UAVs, comprising of the WanderB-VTOL Mini UAV and ThunderB-VTOL Tactical UAV models, that will be operated by infantry soldiers, armored units, artillery corps, and special forces. The order was the largest-ever sale of tactical VTOL UAS. The high defense spending of the militaries in the region is expected to help the militaries place such orders, thereby driving the market growth during the forecast period.

Tactical UAV Market in France is Expected to Show High Demand During the Forecast Period

In the European tactical UAV market, France is expected to show high growth during the forecast period. According to SIPRI, France’s defense spending was the sixth-largest in the world and the second-highest in Europe after Russia, with an expenditure of USD 50.1 billion in 2019. The French military is currently focused on the centrality of human command-and-control in the operations using tactical UAVs rather than acquiring UAVs that are majorly autonomous. The country is focusing on using nano and small UAVs that can be deployed by troops in combat at the tactical level, while larger drones operate strategically under the supervision of higher authorities. France, along with Germany and Italy is part of the European program to research and develop the Eurodrone medium-altitude long-endurance UAV. France is also procuring smaller drones for ISR purposes. For instance, in June 2019, the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) placed an order with Novadem for more than 50 NX70 micro surveillance and reconnaissance UAVs. Following this, the French Navy’s also acquired four NX70 micro UAVs from Novadem in January 2020. Such developments are expected to propel the revenues of the market in France during the forecast period.

Competitive Landscape

BlueBird Aero Systems, Safran, Thales SA, AeroVironment, Inc., and Israel Aerospace Industries are some of the prominent players in the market. In Europe, there are growing collaborations between players from various nations for the development of advanced tactical UAVs. For instance, Airbus, Dassault Aviation, and Leonardo are developing the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS), a twin-turboprop MALE UAV, for Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The UAV will be introduced in 2025. Players are focusing on integrating advanced technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, stealth, advanced electronic warfare capabilities, and better avionics into the existing systems, to further enhance the capabilities of the tactical UAVs, which will help them gain new contracts, thereby propelling their growth during the forecast period.

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