MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 13 (UPI) -- A 24 percent increase in military spending for unmanned aerial vehicles into the year 2018 is forecasted by market analysis firm Frost & Sullivan.
The increase from 2013 represents a rise from $4.97 billion to $6.53 billion.
"UAVs remain essential for conducting intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike operations, despite the withdrawal and reduction of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan," it said, but its analysts also recommend that companies involved in UAV production and support watch for opportunities in the foreign military market and commercial sector given U.S. military budget constraints.
If budget constraints have an adverse impact on Pentagon research funding, Frost & Sullivan said, then spending on UAVs by 2018 could only be between $3.7 billion to $4 billion.
Frost & Sullivan, in its analysis of the U.S. DOD Unmanned Aerial Systems Market, noted that the high cost of developing new systems and the shrinking of defense budgets have resulted in manufacturers upgrading their UAV systems instead of developing new ones.
Another trend is the increasing use of commercial off-the-shelf components and sub-systems in UAVs and their control stations.