The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued a new 25-year “roadmap” for the ongoing development, production and use of unmanned aircraft, ground and maritime systems through 2038. The roadmap forecasts that Pentagon spending on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will continue growing through 2015; thereafter the rate of spending will decline.
The DOD plans to spend $3.7 billion on research and development, procurement and operations and maintenance of UAS this year, increasing to $4.8 billion in 2015. It plans to spend $21.6 billion over the course of its five-year future years defense program (FYDP).
“Overall funding demonstrates a continued commitment to invest in UAS, performing predominately ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) missions,” states the Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap, which the Pentagon released on December 23. “Thus, while one industry analysis and forecasting group estimates worldwide UAS spending will almost double over the next 10 years to a total of $89 billion, a comparison of DOD funding plans versus industry predictions indicates DOD will not be the bulk user wihin that market. However, DOD does intend to be the most innovative user.”