Saab’s secret strategy in to diversification as it looks to tap into the expanding drone market
Monday, 25 November 2013
Military equipment manufacturer Saab is now trying to break into the
growing multi-billion dollar market for unmanned aerial vehicles, known
as drones. As the market for these unmanned systems look to expand,
Swedish media sources reports that Saab has already gone deeper into
the market for the product.
"We market and sell this helicopter system Skeldar and explore
collaboration on the larger system MALE," says Saab’s product manager,
Mikael Franzén to Swedish business daily, Dagens Industri.
The market is growing rapidly and according to the market perception
from international analysis giant Frost & Sullivan the drone is
putting 5-6 billion US Dollars or Skr 33-40 billion this year.
"In ten years' the Frost & Sullivan, track a turnover of 7-8
billion dollars (Skr46-53 billion). Today the market is dominated
entirely by RPAS vehicles for military purposes but the civilian market
is predicted to grow, "says Carl-Henrik Arvidsson.
Saab is confident that the new European regulatory framework that
allows RPAS to fly in civil airspace will be completed in ten years. So
then the world market RPAS expected to pass Skr50 billion.
Saab's first own modern RPAS is the unmanned mini helicopter Skeldar,
developed for the monitoring of things such as boundaries. Skeldar is
used today by the Spanish Navy in an EU mission against pirates off the
Somali coast. Skeldar weight, full tank, 245 kg and is built for
monitoring and may, according to Saab, not armed.
"Skeldar is one of the two segments we want to enter. We are also
looking at partnerships in MALE segment, "says Carl-Henrik Arvidsson.
MALE - Medium Altitude-Long-Endurance - account for larger craft. The
market is military and is completely dominated by U.S. Northrop Grumman
corp. and General Atomics.
"We are looking at various forms of cooperation – more, I can not say, "said Carl-Henrik Arvidsson.
One possible MALE projects for Saab may be the European project as
proposed last summer. Three European aerospace and defense companies,
French Dassault Aviation, pan-European EADS Cassidian and Italian
Finmeccanica, Alenia announced they are planning a MALE project.
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