Anti-Drone Market and its key opportunities and challenges

January 06 18:28 2020
With the increase in the number of terrorist and transnational attacks, the demand for anti-drones is expected to increase at a rapid pace for defense applications. These anti-UAV systems are used to protect troops on military parades and are also used in the battlefields to prevent insurgent attacks, which also include threats from buried bombs.

The global Anti-drone market is expected to grow from USD 499 million in 2018 to USD 2,276 million by 2024, at a CAGR of 28.8% as per a new report by MarketsandMarkets. 

Why high demand for anti-drones for defense applications is giving new opportunities?

With the increase in the number of terrorist and transnational attacks, the demand for anti-drones is expected to increase at a rapid pace for defense applications. These anti-UAV systems are used to protect troops on military parades and are also used in the battlefields to prevent insurgent attacks, which also include threats from buried bombs.

In November 2017, the US Department of Defense awarded ELTA Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industry (IASA), a not-to-exceed USD 39 million contract for the supply of C-UAS. In June 2017, the Spanish Defence Ministry selected the AUDS counter-UAV system to protect critical assets and personnel from the growing threat posed by malicious unmanned aircraft systems or drones. The contract, awarded through Blighter’s representative in Spain, CIAC, is estimated to be worth around USD 2.3 million. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ordered Phalanx systems and signed a contract worth USD 205 million with Raytheon Co. (US) in October 2014.

Similarly, the French military deployed its Aladin radars at nuclear plants in September 2014 as the French law forbids drones from flying over nuclear plants. Furthermore, the US Department of Defense is the prime customer of established as well as new anti-drone manufacturers. It has signed contracts worth millions of dollars with different manufacturers. Anti-drones are likely to be an integral part of surveillance activities conducted by many defense organizations. As a result, market players have an opportunity to develop anti-UAV systems to meet specific requirements of defense organizations.

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Why development of cost-effective anti-drone systems for commercial use remains a key challenge?

The cost of developing anti-drone systems is quite high. Components used in the system such as lasers, radars, advanced electronics, and radio beams are quite expensive. This makes it difficult for manufacturers to reduce the cost of the system. Owing to the high cost, these systems cannot be used for commercial applications such as households and public places, which affects the demand. Several market players, such as Detect, Inc. (US), have introduced anti-drone systems based on sensors; however, these systems can only detect UAVs and are incapable of destroying them. Thus, it is challenging for market players to introduce highly efficient and affordable anti-drone systems.

Increasing terrorism and illicit activities across the world

Drones are increasingly being used for terrorism and illicit activities, such as smuggling, spying, and border trespassing. Drones can also be modified and used by terrorists to gather information on convoys, bases, equipment, camps, and infrastructure. They can, further, be used with explosives or chemical weapons. According to a government counter-terrorism adviser, commercially available drones can be used by terrorists to attack passenger planes. Several incidents occurred in the past have proven that terrorists are planning to use UAVs and drones for attacks. For instance, in 2013, German law enforcement personnel raided Islamic militants and right-wing extremists believed to be plotting drone attacks according to a presentation at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) summit. These drones have widened the reach of terrorists at different locations. In October 2016, ISIS used a drone loaded with explosives to attack Kurdish and French positions in northern Peshmerga. The attack killed 2 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and wounded 2 French special operations forces. Furthermore, on August 4, 2018, Venezuelan president was attacked by 2 drones armed with explosives while giving a speech at a public outdoor event in Caracas, Venezuela. Although the president and his followers survived alleged drone attack, this incident created the potential security threats from drones outside war zones.

As a result, for the military and defense, government, as well as homeland security sectors, it has become imperative to deploy technologically advanced anti-drone systems that can detect and disrupt any drone accurately, ensure safety and security from suspicious or hostile drones, and prevent terrorist attacks and unlawful activities. In May 2017, the football chiefs of the UEFA Champions League closed Cardiff’s Principality Stadium roof for the final match to prevent a drone attack. Also, during the same time, FORMULA One bosses were scared that ISIS could attack crowds watching the Grand Prix with body-trapped bomber drones. Hence, massive nets were used to capture the drones, and security guards were equipped with electronic jammers and net guns.

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