Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The market is segmented on the basis of Altitude of Operation (Below 30,000 feet, Above 30,000 feet), Type (Fixed-wing, Rotary-wing), and Geography.

Market Snapshot

UCAV over
Study Period: 2018 - 2026
Base Year: 2020
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: >8 %

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Market Overview

The unmanned combat aerial vehicle market is anticipated to grow, registering at a CAGR of above 8%, during the forecast period.

  • Drones were primarily used for patrolling and reconnaissance. However, with their growing requirement and the increased risks involved in the operations, the existing UAVs are being armed and converted for combat missions. This conversion of reconnaissance drones will propel the growth of the market, during the forecast period.
  • The increasing defense budgets and the territorial disputes between many nations, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & African regions, are the major reasons for the development of combat UAVs.
  • With the increasing demand for combat drones, the companies and the governments are investing in new and innovative UCAVs, with advanced target detection and identification capabilities.

Scope of the Report

An unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that usually carries combat payloads, like missiles. They are generally surveillance and reconnaissance drones with combat payloads. Based on type, the UCAV market is segmented into fixed-wing, and rotary-wing. The fixed-wing segment includes suicide drones and delta-wing structure combat drones.

Altitude of Operation
Below 30,000 feet
Above 30,000 feet
North America
Latin America
Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Fixed-wing Segment to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The fixed-wing segment of the market currently has the highest share and is expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This is mainly due to the increase in investments in the development of delta-wing and complex delta-wing UCAVs, with advanced combat capabilities, that can fly at supersonic speeds. Countries, like the United States, India, China, Iran, Israel, and Russia, among others, have invested in such combat UAVs. China is currently using stealth technology in unmanned platforms and is unveiling more UCAV variants. The country recently announced that the state-owned China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) is developing Cai Hong 7, a high-altitude UCAV. Similarly, Russia unveiled the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter), a heavy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Such developments in the UCAVs are expected to generate high demand for this segment, during the forecast period. Moreover, the development and deployment of suicide drones are expected to boost the growth of the segment, during the forecast period.

unmanned combat aerial vehicles market segment

Asia-Pacific Region to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The Asia-Pacific region is anticipated to register the highest growth, during the forecast period. This is majorly due to the increasing military spending of the countries in this region. The political tensions between the nations are the major reasons behind the increased military spending. The countries are investing in the procurement of UAVs that have combat capabilities, along with capabilities for intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) missions along their borders. For instance, in February 2019, the Indian Air Force announced its plans to procure 54 Israeli HAROP loitering munitions systems that can search, detect, and attack time-critical and high-value mobile targets on land or at sea. Also, the indigenous developments of UCAVs, by the companies in Australia, China, and India, are further expected to propel the growth of the market, during the forecast period.

unmanned combat aerial vehicle market geography

Competitive Landscape

The prominent players in the unmanned combat aerial vehicle market are The Boeing Company, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, General Atomics, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. The market is highly fragmented, due to the presence of many local players that are funded by the governments of the respective countries, for indigenous developments. The development of new UAV payloads that help in increasing the lethality of the drones, with better target hitting capabilities, will also support the growth of the UCAV market. The strategic investments by the key companies for expanding their global presence are expected to increase their market shares.

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 Altitude of Operation

      1. 5.1.1 Below 30,000 feet

      2. 5.1.2 Above 30,000 feet

    2. 5.2 Type

      1. 5.2.1 Fixed-wing

      2. 5.2.2 Rotary-wing

    3. 5.3 Geography

      1. 5.3.1 North America

      2. 5.3.2 Europe

      3. 5.3.3 Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.3.4 Latin America

      5. 5.3.5 Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 General Atomics

      2. 6.2.2 Dassault Aviation

      3. 6.2.3 BAE Systems PLC

      4. 6.2.4 Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd

      5. 6.2.5 China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation

      6. 6.2.6 Lockheed Martin Corporation

      7. 6.2.7 Northrop Grumman Corporation

      8. 6.2.8 BAYKAR

      9. 6.2.9 The Boeing Company

      10. 6.2.10 Elbit Systems Ltd

      11. 6.2.11 Kratos Defense and Security

      12. 6.2.12 BlueBird Aero Systems Ltd


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Market is growing at a CAGR of >8% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

North America holds highest share in 2020.

The Boeing Company, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, General Atomics, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd, Lockheed Martin Corporation are the major companies operating in Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle Market.

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