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

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 American small UAV market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of more than 7% during the forecast period.

Since unmanned aerial vehicle (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 documenting 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 in 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 American small UAV market is segmented based on UAV type, propulsion technology, end-user industry, and country. By UAV type, the market is segmented into fixed-wing and rotary-wing. By propulsion technology, the market is segmented into hydrogen cell, hybrid, solar, and lithium-ion (Li-ion). By end-user industry, the market is classified as construction, agriculture, energy, entertainment, defense and law enforcement, and others. By country, the market is divided into the United States and Canada. The other subsegment in the end-user industry includes the deployment of drones for operations such as firefighting, aerial mapping, etc. The market sizing and forecasts for each segment are provided in value (USD million).

UAV Type
Propulsion Technology
Hydrogen Cell
End-user Industry
Defense and Law Enforcement
United States

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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 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 November 2021, Rantizo become the first company to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the operation of the DJI Agras T-30 drone for agricultural applications.

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 United States is Projected to Show Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The United States 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. 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.

According to the FAA, there were 855,860 drones registered in the United States by May 2022. Out of which 63% of registrations (536,183) were for recreational purposes and 37% of registrations (316,075) were for commercial operation. Also, the FAA has awarded 277,845 remote pilot certificates. Thus, the growing use of drones for various commercial and defense applications drives market growth across the United States.

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 AeroVironment Inc., Thales Group, IAI, Lockheed Martin Corporation, 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 their widespread adoption across different industries.

Major Players

  1. Elbit Systems Ltd.

  2. Thales Group

  3. AeroVironment Inc.

  4. Lockheed Martin Corporation

  5. IAI

north america small uav market CL

Recent Developments

  • In May 2022, Teledyne FLIR Defense signed a contract worth 14 million to deliver Black Hornet 3 drones to the United States Army. The advanced nano UAVs are used to augment squad and small unit surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program.
  • In February 2022, the United States army signed a contract with Skydio, a drone manufacturer for the supply of X2D unmanned aerial vehicles to the United States Army's Short-Range Reconnaissance Program (SRR). The contract is expected to be worth USD 99.8 million for a five-year duration.

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


    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 Industry

      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


    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 AeroVironment Inc.

      5. 6.2.5 BAE Systems plc

      6. 6.2.6 SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd.

      7. 6.2.7 Aeronautics Ltd.

      8. 6.2.8 Lockheed Martin Corporation

      9. 6.2.9 Skydio

      10. 6.2.10 Parrot Drone SAS


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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.

Elbit Systems Ltd., Thales Group, AeroVironment Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, IAI are the major companies operating in North America Small UAV Market.

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