Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Diversification Opportunities

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Traditionally, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) procurement has dominated the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) market. As defense spending on UAVs fluctuates and commercial markets driven by regulation clarification increase, new opportunities for defense diversification are opening. Opportunities for UAVs designed for military usage are growing in the public safety, transportation, infrastructure, agricultural and defense export markets. According to the industry experts interviewed for this study, the agriculture industry could utilize military UAV sensors to scan large fields for irrigation and blighting and possibly localized spraying of pesticides. Public safety and transportation agencies could utilize drones for situational awareness and video analytics to help law enforcement and other public services gain an understanding of emergency situations. Lastly, infrastructure that stretches over longer distances such as power lines and oil pipelines could take advantage of the long duration of the military UAV flight times, which could reduce the need to operate costly manned aircraft. However, achieving price competitiveness in commercial markets is difficult. For Mississippi, there are opportunities to expand current UAV production capacity and leverage UAV support infrastructure.

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Mississippi Defense Diversification Initiative

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