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Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones in common parlance, are doing amazing work in the public sector, from creating 3D models of large mountains to helping in disaster recovery and firefighting missions. And thanks to recent regulatory advancements, it is becoming easier for government programs and commercial entities to derive benefit from integrating drones into their operations.

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But acquiring, deploying, utilizing, and maintaining them is a complex endeavor and the supply base reflects this complexity in varying offerings and emerging suppliers. We’ve touched on some of the procurement issues in our webinar, How to Buy Drones, and discussed public sector use cases in Understanding the Drones and Unmanned Systems Market.

To further understand the market, we’ve broken the UAS market into 9 categories:

  1. Full Solution Providers
  2. Communication Equipment
  3. Software
  4. Accessories
  5. Ground Control Equipment
  6. Maintenance & Repair
  7. Training & Support Services
  8. Payloads
  9. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

And within those 9 categories are three groups of suppliers that are worth keeping an eye on.

Startups and emerging companies

  1. Teal Drones out of Salt Lake City, Utah has raised over $20m in venture funds to finance its hardware and software drone platforms for consumer and enterprise applications. It’s flagship product, Teal One, is one of the highest performing drones in the market.
  2. Kraus Aerospace is a US-based company developing autonomous persistent fixed-wing UAS under a flagship product known as the K1000ULE that can “remain aloft longer than any other in its category.”
  3. Founded in 2016, Xwing, a San Francisco-based startup, develops technologies that support pilotless flight of small passenger aircraft. This VC-backed startup is “assembling world-class engineering talent from the aerospace and software industries.”

Companies that are making moves and closing deals

  1. BirdsEyeView Aerobotics has sold over $500k of drones to the Department of Interior and Commerce within the last 18 months.
  2. 3D Robotics out of Berkeley, CA closed three deals with major federal agencies for hexicopers, quadcopters, and other UAS manufacturing equipment in 2019 alone.
  3. Physical Sciences, a maker of circuits, sensors, and software in myriad compositions, had a busy 2019 with over $1m in drone-related revenue, the largest contract being a $750,000 UAS sale to the US Air Force.

These “blueblood” suppliers are well established in the public sector UAS space

  1. AeroVironment has been serving the public and private sector since 1971 with tactical UAS, missile systems, and high-altitude pseudo-satellites.
  2. L-3 Unmanned Systems, Inc (a subsidiary of heritage firm L3 Technologies), manufactures UAS to include air-launched and mid-endurance systems, multi-intelligence ISR systems, and Ruggedized Visualization Systems. They own a spot on GSA’s General Purpose Commercial Information Technology, Equipment, and Services contract (GS-35F-612GA).
  3. Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems and its subsidiary, Composite Engineering, Inc, have been playing in the UAS space since 1990. Their XQ-58A Valkyrie is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle used for ground attack and reconnaissance.

All of these featured suppliers provide capabilities worth exploring, but if you’re sourcing for something specific, check out how we’ve broken this sector down in our PSF Market Category for Unmanned Aerial Systems. Make sure you join us for our upcoming webinar where we’ll dive deeper into the marketplace for drones and drone services!

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