2013 brought with it continued economic challenges, with military and aerospace (mil/aero) budgets suffering cutbacks; yet, the mil/aero community continues to innovate and find ways to accomplish more with less.
Militaries around the world are achieving more with fewer resources through the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also popularly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS).
Similarly, mil/aero businesses—including prime contractors (primes), Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs)—are diversifying their portfolios and expanding their footprint to serve emerging market regions through globalization.
The UAS market, a segment known for its continued growth, has gone global. Leading the UAS pack are the United States and Israel, with a majority of market share; yet, many other countries are vying for a share of the global and burgeoning UAS market. UAS are proving to be useful tools in militaries worldwide, as well as for civil and commercial applications, including precision agriculture, public safety and first response, law enforcement, and much more.
The Northrup Grumman X-47B has received much acclaim this year, and it continues to make history. It was the first UAV to complete an arrested landing onboard an aircraft carrier at sea. In this mil/aero geek’s opinion, the X-47B wins for the coolest-looking unmanned aircraft design to date.