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25 Sep 12. According to Forecast International’s senior unmanned vehicles analyst, Larry Dickerson, the world’s appetite for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) appears insatiable. “Just when you think the UAS market cannot go any higher, it does,” he said. “No matter how many systems are built, operators want more.” The UAS market has seen unprecedented growth since 2001, with current projected value over the next 10 years estimated at $70.9bn, according to Forecast International. He notes that sales are growing in Asia even as purchases by the United States have slowed. Still, the U.S. will spend some $13.7bn on UAS procurement and $11.6bn for research programs through 2021. Of the estimated $70.9bn market for UAS reconnaissance systems over the next 10 years, $39.2bn will come from production, another $28.7bn will be earmarked for research and development, and perhaps $2bn to $3bn will be the result of UAS services contracts. The United States remains the driving force behind this market, but spending in other areas of the world is increasing. U.S. research and development spending will amount to $11.6bn over this period — about 40 percent of the worldwide total. Europe and Asia will spend $8bn and $7.1bn on research, respectively. U.S.-based companies will account for 41 percent of this market’s production value, or $16.5bn, and could gain more in the future. Spending on unmanned aircraft is increasing in Europe and Asia. Europe is slated to spend $5.7bn on unmanned aircraft systems. European governments are working on their own unmanned aircraft programs, but a shortage of funding is hindering certain research and procurement efforts. Despite the arrival of new European-designed systems, European nations will still make large purchases of non-European systems. Asia will spend $14.3bn on unmanned aircraft. China could account for some 60 percent of this spending. Beijing will acquire few foreign systems, depending instead on local firms to meet the majority of its needs. (Source: Yahoo!/GLOBE NEWSWIRE)
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