Target drone is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle, popularly used in the defense industry mostly for training in anti-aircraft warfare. Apart from this, it is used to simulate manned aircraft in radar, counter-air defense, and homeland security. In particular, the application of target drones has gained traction in military trainings related to anti-missile and anti-submarine and in weapon calibration testing. Target drones can be used for aerial targets, ground targets, underwater targets, and sea surface targets. The burgeoning funds in the defense industry focused on training in several developing and developed nations is a notable factor boosting the target drones market. In various emerging economies, line fit based target drones is witnessing extensive uptake owing to their cost-effectiveness and wider availability in developing regions. The drones made for the aerial target is expected to garner wide adoption owing to its suitability in military applications. The growing number of innovation and patent registrations in several developed nations is expected to accentuate the market. The sub-scaled type of aerial target is witnessing substantial demand, as they are inexpensive. In a number of developing nations, target drones used lack customization as they are sourced from countries such as Russia and the U.S. Usually, the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) provides the extensive firing range for target drones. Based in Souda Bay on the island of Crete, Greece, their services are used by countries such as Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, and the U.S. Advancements in simulation technologies and the vast R&D funds being spent on developing these technologies are notable factors boosting the market. They are also focused on expanding their firing range, which is expected to open up promising avenues for market players in the coming years.
Target drones are unmanned aerial vehicles, controlled by remote and mainly used in the defense. They are the substitutes for aerial targets primarily used in testing and evaluation and research and development. They resemble the radio-controlled model aircraft. The modern target drones are used in radar, countermeasures, and similar systems in order to mimic the manned aircraft.
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Upsurge in funds for training programs in the military across the globe is expected to fuel the demand for target drones as they are increasingly being adopted in the defense sector for training. Moreover, rise in incidents of political terrorism, civil unrest, and maritime piracy have augmented the investments for realistic military training. However, lack of trained and skilled personnel to control and operate the target drones is expected to hamper the market during the forecast period.
The target drones market can be segmented based on engine type, fit, platform, target type, end-user, and region. In terms of engine type, the target drones market can be bifurcated into internal combustion engines, jet engines, and others. The jet engine segment is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period due to the high adoption rate of target drones in the military owing to their high speed capabilities. The fit market can be further segmented into customized fit and line fit. The line fit segment is expected to constitute the largest market share as customized fit is available only in the U.K. and the U.S. Due to budget constraints in the defense in emerging countries, customization of fighter aircraft is not possible as most of the countries obtain such aircraft from Russia and the U.S. and are not able to convert them into aerial targets. Therefore, the target drones in those countries are mostly line fit drones. Based on platform, the target drones market can be classified into ground targets, underwater targets, aerial targets, and sea surface targets. The aerial target segment is expected to expand significantly due to its wide usage in anti-missile military training, anti-aircraft, and missile calibration testing. On the basis of target type, the target drones market can be further divided into sub-scaled, free flying, full-scaled, towing, and sporting. The sub-scaled segment is expected to witness the largest market share owing to the fact that they are the inexpensive alternative to the real aircraft used during training. On the basis of end-user, the target drones market can be divided into homeland security, defense, and commercial. The defense segment is expected to account for the largest market share as target drones are primarily used for anti-missile, anti-aircraft, and anti-submarine military trainings and also for missile and weapon calibration testing.
In terms of region, the target drones market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America. North America is expected to constitute the largest share of the target drones market during the forecast period due to the rise in investment in training programs in the defense and the increase in budget allocated for target drones in the U.S. Moreover, in the U.S., old fighter aircraft are converted into aerial targets that help in the missile training and testing exercises and also simulate real-time threat scenarios for military anti-aircraft. Asia Pacific is expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period from emerging nations such as India and China due to their developing air-based defense equipment to reduce expenditure in imports.
Major players operating in the target drones market are Lockheed Martin Corporation (The U.S.), Northrop Grumman Corporation (The U.S.), The Boeing Company (The U.S.), QinetiQ Group plc (U.K.), Leonardo S.p.A. (Italy), AeroTargets International, LLC (U.S.), Saab AB (Sweden), Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (U.S.) and ASV Global (U.K.).
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