UAV Propulsion Systems Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 - 2028)

The UAV Propulsion Systems Market has been segmented by Type (Conventional, Hybrid, and Full-electric), Application (Civil and Commercial, and Military), UAV Type (Micro, Mini, Tactical, MALE, and HALE), and Geography.

UAV Propulsion Systems Market Size

 UAV propulsion systems market
Study Period: 2018 - 2028
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: > 12 %

Major Players

 uav propulsion system market forecast

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order


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UAV Propulsion Systems Market Analysis

The UAV propulsion systems market is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 12% during the forecast period.

  • As the customization of commercial UAVs is quite cheap, it paves the way for new functionalities in a wide array of niche spaces. Sophisticated UAVs have started doing everyday tasks, such as fertilizing crop fields on an automated basis, monitoring traffic incidents, and surveying hard-to-reach places. Over the years, the usage of drones has penetrated into several applications in the commercial sector, such as aerial photography, express shipping and delivery, gathering information or supplying essentials for disaster management, geographical mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations, building safety inspections, precision crop monitoring, unmanned cargo transport, law enforcement and border control surveillance, storm tracking, and forecasting hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • The inherent benefits of integrating an electric-propulsion system to different UAV platforms are also driving the adoption of electric propulsion technologies at a much faster pace than their other counterparts. For instance, an electrical propulsion system provides more flexibility in the installation of machinery as they are compact in nature, and due to the absence of several moving components of the drivetrain, they weigh less and, hence, contribute toward weight savings and endurance enhancement of a particular UAV model. Besides, the emergence of global green emission initiatives has encouraged the adoption of eco-friendly propulsion technologies, such as electric propulsion.

UAV Propulsion Systems Industry Segmentation

The propulsion system of a UAV produces and supplies the necessary power to ensure continuous flight. While the conventional UAV propulsion systems store energy in the form of fuel and utilize an internal combustion (IC) engine to drive the propellers, an electric propulsion system utilizes the energy storage devices, such as batteries and fuel cells. In a hybrid configuration, there are two propulsion technologies integrated onboard a UAV that work in tandem to eliminate the performance limitations of individual propulsion systems.

The market forecast is based on the linefit installations of propulsion systems integrated onboard the various types of UAVs being delivered across the world. 

Engine Type
Civil and Commercial
UAV Type
Micro UAV
Mini UAV
Tactical UAV
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
Rest of Asia-Pacific
Rest of the World

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UAV Propulsion Systems Market Trends

This section covers the major market trends shaping the UAV Propulsion Systems Market according to our research experts:

Development of New-generation UAV Engines is expected to Drive the Market During the Forecast Period

UAVs have evolved into increasingly capable platforms deployed for a wide variety of applications. The capability to fight effectively in urban areas against widely dispersed forces, while minimizing collateral damage and achieving information superiority has enabled the UAVs to play a greater role in critical missions. The increase in demand and reliance on UAV in warfighting and peacekeeping operations has doubled the pace of UAV-related R&D in recent years.

The endurance of a UAV is influenced by the propulsion technology used and is dependent on the aerodynamic design and amount of fuel carried. To fulfill the energy requirements of a large variety of UAVs, several variants of piston-engines and electric motors have been designed by the market players. The potential benefits of a propulsion system are measured by their impact on the costs of the whole UAV. Lightweight, more fuel-efficient engines permit usage of expensive payload for a given mission without significantly affecting the size and cost of the UAV. In recent years, the electric propulsion system has gained more popularity among small or mini UAVs for its apparent advantages: quiet operation, easy and safe to handle and store, precise power management, and control.

The commercial and military UAV manufacturers have long been strategizing over the adoption of alternative propulsion technologies for UAVs. With several vendors experimenting with such innovative technologies, the dependence of UAVs on fossil fuels have been reduced significantly. Recently, hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as a viable alternative fuel to replace Li-ion batteries in smaller drones, and their efficiency in terms of weight/power ratios are increasing rapidly. They offer compelling value for UAVs due to improved reliability over small internal combustion engines, enhancing safe and low maintenance operation. UAV systems powered by fuel cells operate longer than their battery counterparts, with the same benefits of low thermal and noise.

uav propulsion system market size

Asia-Pacific is Expected to Generate the Highest Demand During the Forecast Period

The Asia-Pacific region is expected to generate the highest demand for UAV propulsion systems during the forecast period. This increasing demand is mainly due the increasing orders for different UAV configurations for a plethora of military and commercial applications. Investments in the drone start-ups are projected to grow in several countries in the region necessitating the implementation of well-defined regulatory policies. For instance, in August 2018, India permitted the use of UAVs for commercial mapping, surveys and photography after elucidating the necessary regulations.

In the Asia-Pacific, several modernization programs are underway to enhance the current capabilities of the commercial and military end-users in the region. For instance, in October 2019, Elbit Systems Inc. received a USD 153 million contract for delivering 1,000 units of THOR drones and other UAVs to an unknown Southeast Asian country. Similarly, in September 2019, China unveiled the GJ-11 Sharp Sword stealth attack drone capable of being deployed for a variety of missions, ranging from reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures to enabling targeting and battle damage assessments for the carrier killer missiles. Such developments are envisioned to drive the growth prospects of the market in focus during the forecast period.

 uav propulsion system industry

UAV Propulsion Systems Industry Overview

The prominent players in the UAV propulsion systems market are Hirth Engines GmbH (UMS SKELDAR AG), Honeywell International Inc., Rolls-Royce PLC, BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co KG, Ballard Power Systems Inc., and MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co. Ltd, amongst others. These companies are majorly into the design, manufacturing, and integration of complete propulsion systems for compatible UAV models. The market is highly competitive and products with cross-compatibility are being released by players, such as MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co. Ltd. High capital expenditure on account of conducting extensive R&D to develop advanced UAV propulsion systems and enhance their current capabilities poses a threat to new market entrants. Additionally, the use of 3D printing technology in propulsion drives is anticipated to simultaneously generate demand for new system components and designs to cater to the demand for sophisticated electric propulsion systems with reduced size and mass without compromising on relative performance.

UAV Propulsion Systems Market Leaders

  1. Hirth Engines GmbH (UMS SKELDAR AG)

  2. Honeywell International Inc.

  3. Rolls-Royce PLC

  4. BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co. KG

  5. Ballard Power Systems Inc.

  6. MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co. Ltd

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

3W International GmbH,  Austro Engine GmbH,  GE Aviation, Hirth Engines GmbH, Honeywell International Inc., Orbital Corporation Limited

UAV Propulsion Systems Market Report - 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 Porter's 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 Engine Type

      1. 5.1.1 Conventional

      2. 5.1.2 Hybrid

      3. 5.1.3 Full-electric

    2. 5.2 Application

      1. 5.2.1 Civil and Commercial

      2. 5.2.2 Military

    3. 5.3 UAV Type

      1. 5.3.1 Micro UAV

      2. 5.3.2 Mini UAV

      3. 5.3.3 Tactical UAV

      4. 5.3.4 MALE UAV

      5. 5.3.5 HALE UAV

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

      2. 5.4.2 Europe

        1. United Kingdom

        2. France

        3. Germany

        4. Rest of Europe

      3. 5.4.3 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. Japan

        3. India

        4. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.4.4 Rest of the World


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 3W International GmbH

      2. 6.2.2 Austro Engine GmbH

      3. 6.2.3 GE Aviation (The General Electric Company)

      4. 6.2.4 Hirth Engines GmbH (UMS SKELDAR AG)

      5. 6.2.5 Honeywell International Inc.

      6. 6.2.6 Orbital Corporation Limited

      7. 6.2.7 Pratt & Whitney (United Technologies Corporation)

      8. 6.2.8 Rolls-Royce PLC

      9. 6.2.9 BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co. KG

      10. 6.2.10 UAV Engine Limited

      11. 6.2.11 Ballard Power Systems Inc.

      12. 6.2.12 MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co. Ltd

      13. 6.2.13 HES Energy Systems (H3 Dynamics Holdings Pte Ltd)

      14. 6.2.14 Intelligent Energy Ltd


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UAV Propulsion Systems Market Research FAQs

The UAV Propulsion Systems Market is studied from 2018 - 2028.

The UAV Propulsion Systems Market is growing at a CAGR of >12% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2018 - 2028.

North America holds highest share in 2021.

Hirth Engines GmbH (UMS SKELDAR AG), Honeywell International Inc., Rolls-Royce PLC, BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co. KG, Ballard Power Systems Inc., MicroMultiCopter Aero Technology Co. Ltd are the major companies operating in UAV Propulsion Systems Market.

UAV Propulsion Systems Industry Report

Statistics for the 2023 UAV Propulsion Systems market share, size and revenue growth rate, created by Mordor Intelligence™ Industry Reports. UAV Propulsion Systems analysis includes a market forecast outlook to 2028 and historical overview. Get a sample of this industry analysis as a free report PDF download.

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