Leonardo and Northrop Grumman strategic partnership on future unmanned rotorcraft will leverage expertise in autonomy and integration, says GlobalData

Following the news that Leonardo and Northrop Grumman have announced a strategic alliance in the Vertical Take-Off and Landing Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) domain in a media briefing event at the DSEI exhibition on 15 September;

Vera Lin, Aerospace, Defense and Security Associate at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“The two companies are planning to leverage expertise in autonomy and integration and rotorcraft capabilities to enter the global VTOL UAS market. The collaboration will focus on air vehicle design, system architectures, payload optimization and integration. Specific development and delivery time frames will be determined by industry competition and customer demand. Major competitors in the VTOL sector will include the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and Korea Aerospace Industries. These firms, along with Northrop Grumman constitute the largest share of the UAV VTOL market.

“GlobalData estimates that the global military UAV market, valued at US$8bn in 2021, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.15% over the forecast period, to reach US$15.9bn by 2031. In particular, the VTOL segment is forecasted to have the greatest growth, increasing at a CAGR of 12.67% to reach US$2.3bn by 2031.

“The demand for rotorcraft VTOL drones is also gaining momentum alongside existing fixed-wing platforms. The Northrop Grumman-Leonardo VTOL UAS partnership is targeting opportunities across the air and maritime domains for both military and commercial end-users, as well as contributing to emerging operational ISR requirements on the military side. The continued development of these drones target market opportunities in the global trend of restructuring services for multi-domain integration.”

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