North America Small UAV Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The North America Small UAV Market is segmented by UAV Type (Fixed-Wing, Rotary Wing), Propulsion Technology (Hydrogen Cell, Hybrid, Solar, Lithium-ion), End-user Industries (Construction, Agriculture, Energy, Entertainment, Defense and Law Enforcement, Others), and Country (United States, Canada, Rest of North America). The report offers market size and forecasts by value (USD million) for all the above segments.

Market Snapshot

North America Small UAV Market_overview
Study Period: 2018-2027
Base Year: 2021
CAGR: >7 %

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Market Overview

The North America small UAV market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 7% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

Since UAV procurement is a direct proponent of the demand from end-user industries, COVID-19 has severely impacted the market in focus. The ongoing global economic slowdown is anticipated to result in a subsequent decline in the demand for UAVs from end-user sectors that deploy drones for a variety of applications. However, the demand for UAVs has witnessed a rapid increment on account of their diverse application portfolio. However, due to existing regulations and controls, major US-based companies are less likely to bear the impact of the wider supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic.

The growing realization of drone deployment in military operations has encouraged vendors to offer drones that can be used in numerous commercial applications. Drones are also being adopted in other applications, including internet provision in remote places, aerial photography and video recording, survey and document wildlife, and public service missions. Several companies primarily offer small drones that are used in agricultural, aerial photography and data collection applications. Home deliveries via drones have become a reality due to the efforts of logistics and retail companies such as Amazon and UPS toward rolling out the technology. Enhanced investments toward drone technologies are also anticipated to foster long-term growth of the market. However, the growth of the small UAV market in North America can be hindered by technological constraints such as limited endurance, SWaP challenges, and the presence of non-uniform laws and regulations that can restrict the usage of such systems in the airspace of certain countries.

Scope of the Report

Small UAVs are pilotless platforms that weigh a maximum of 25kg. These platforms are either remotely controlled by a human operator or navigated autonomously by a programmed onboard computer.

The North America Small UAV Market is segmented based on UAV Type, Propulsion Technology, End-user Industries, and Geography. By UAV Type, the market is segmented into Fixed-Wing and Rotary-Wing; by Propulsion Technology into Hydrogen Cell, Hybrid, Solar, and Lithium-ion (Li-ion); by End-user Industries into Construction, Agriculture, Energy, Entertainment, Defense and Law Enforcement, Others; and by Country into United States, Canada, and Rest of North America. The other subsegment in the End-user Industries includes the deployment of drones for operations such as firefighting, aerial mapping, etc.

The report also covers the market sizes and forecasts for the North America Small UAV Market across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done based on value (USD million).

UAV Type
Propulsion Technology
Hydrogen Cell
End-user Industries
Defense and Law Enforcement
United States
Rest of North America

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Key Market Trends

Agriculture Industry to Witness Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

Small UAVs are being increasingly used for agricultural applications such as field mapping, wherein the drones are deployed to enhance the yield of the land by analyzing the crops and spraying fertilizers without disturbing the soil fertility. For instance, Rantizo, an Iowa-based company, has been using drones to spray pesticides over cornfields, soybean plots, vineyards, blueberry farms, vegetable rows, and hemp fields. In July 2020, Rantizo became the first drone company in the US to receive swarm certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Similarly, as of September 2021, Houston-based Startup Hylio was looking to push into the medical-cannabis space with crop-spraying drones. Hylio has trialed with more than 500 clients, ranging from small- and medium-sized farmers to large-scale corporate farms and agricultural service providers. The increasing use would also encourage new players to venture into the segment thereby driving the rapid growth of the segment during the forecast period.

North America Small UAV Market_keytrend1

The US will Witness Highest Demand During the Forecast Period

The US is one of the largest users of UAV technologies both in the commercial and defense sectors. Recent relaxations in small UAV operations in the country have resulted in a splurge in demand for UAVs from the end-user sectors. For instance, previously, small drone operations over people were limited to operations over people who were directly participating in the operation, located under a covered structure, or inside a stationary vehicle - unless operators had obtained a waiver from the FAA. However, in December 2020, the FAA permitted drone flight over people and permitted small UAV operations at night. This modification in the otherwise strict regulations is anticipated to be a significant step toward the eventual use of small UAVs for widespread commercial deliveries. The new rules also eliminate requirements that drones be connected to the internet to transmit location data but do require that they broadcast remote ID messages via radio frequency broadcast. A favorable regulatory framework is anticipated to drive the adoption of small UAVs further during the forecast period.

North America Small UAV Market_keytrend2

Competitive Landscape

The North America small UAV market is comprised of a handful of established players, which enjoy a strong foothold in the market, such as The Boeing Company, AeroVironment Inc., Thales SA, Airbus SE, and Elbit Systems Ltd. However, several small companies and startups entered the market in the past few years due to the high profitability in the market. Companies are competing to gain market shares and are developing advanced technology-integrated drone hardware and software solutions that reduce human effort in applications, such as mining, construction, and aerial mapping. Since the payload, endurance, and flight range of a drone platform are the primary concerns of OEMs and operators alike, the emergence of alternative fuel-powered drones is expected to cause significant changes in the competitive scenario. Moreover, the use of composite-based materials for the construction of critical components and parts of drones would likely increase the capabilities of the drone platforms and fuel its widespread adoption across different industries.

Recent Developments

  • In June 2021, a team of researchers inside the US Air Force Research Lab developed UAVs of the size of a large bumblebee. The micro air vehicles (MAVs) can be used for surveillance missions and are even capable of flapping their wings imitating the biomechanical movement of flying birds and insects.
  • In December 2020, the US FAA amended their drone regulations permitting night operations of small drones and authorizing their usage in crowded places. The modified regulations also eliminate the need for drones being connected to the internet to transmit location data but do require that they broadcast remote ID messages via radio frequency broadcast.
  • In January 2019, the US Army awarded a USD 39.7 million contract to Teledyne FLIR LLC for 9,000 units of Black-Hornet mini drones.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Industry Attractiveness: Porters Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

  5. 5. MARKET SEGMENTATION (Market Size by Value - USD million)

    1. 5.1 UAV Type

      1. 5.1.1 Fixed-wing

      2. 5.1.2 Rotary-wing

    2. 5.2 Propulsion Technology

      1. 5.2.1 Hydrogen Cell

      2. 5.2.2 Hybrid

      3. 5.2.3 Solar

      4. 5.2.4 Lithium-ion

    3. 5.3 End-user Industries

      1. 5.3.1 Construction

      2. 5.3.2 Agriculture

      3. 5.3.3 Energy

      4. 5.3.4 Entertainment

      5. 5.3.5 Defense and Law Enforcement

      6. 5.3.6 Others

    4. 5.4 Country

      1. 5.4.1 United States

      2. 5.4.2 Canada

      3. 5.4.3 Rest of North America


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 Elbit Systems Ltd.

      2. 6.2.2 Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.

      3. 6.2.3 Thales Group

      4. 6.2.4 The Boeing Company

      5. 6.2.5 AeroVironment Inc.

      6. 6.2.6 BAE Systems plc

      7. 6.2.7 SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd.

      8. 6.2.8 Airbus SE

      9. 6.2.9 Aeronautics Ltd.

      10. 6.2.10 Lockheed Martin Corporation


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Frequently Asked Questions

The North America Small UAV Market market is studied from 2018 - 2027.

The North America Small UAV Market is growing at a CAGR of >7% over the next 5 years.

The Boeing Company, Airbus SE, Elbit Systems Ltd., Thales Group, AeroVironment Inc. are the major companies operating in North America Small UAV Market.

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