Authored By: Sarah
15 Jul 2024

 Fuel Cells for Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market Size to grow by USD 232.91 million between 2024-2028

According to a research report “ Fuel Cells for Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market” by Product (Hydrogen fuel cell, Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, Solid oxide fuel cell) Type (Tactical UAV, Mini UAV, Micro UAV, Medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV, High altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV) Geography (North America, APAC, Europe, Middle East and Africa, South America)- Global Forecast to 2028 published by Technavio, the market size is estimated to grow by USD 232.91 million, at a CAGR of almost 9.82% during the forecast period. In military operations, prolonged surveillance, reconnaissance, and target acquisition are essential. Fuel cell-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer significant advantages over traditional lithium-polymer battery-operated counterparts, enabling extended flight times. This extended duration enhances the flexibility and effectiveness of military UAVs, allowing for comprehensive coverage of larger areas and uninterrupted ISR missions. The increased mission endurance offered by fuel cells enables UAVs to remain airborne for hours or even days, reducing operational constraints and ensuring continuous monitoring of critical areas. This technological advancement is a game-changer for military applications, providing unparalleled autonomy and mission sustainability.

Browse market data tables, figures, and in-depth TOC on “Fuel Cells for Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market” by Product (Hydrogen fuel cell, Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, Solid oxide fuel cell) Type (Tactical UAV, Mini UAV, Micro UAV, Medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV, High altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV) Geography (North America, APAC, Europe, Middle East and Africa, South America) Global Forecast to 2028. Download Free Sample


By Product, the Hydrogen fuel cell segment is projected to dominate the market size in 2024

In the military sector, the demand for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with advanced capabilities for short-range strategic missions has surged. These tactical UAVs, which have been produced in significant numbers in recent years, prioritize security and survivability. Fuel cells, specifically Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs) and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs), are the preferred energy sources for these UAVs due to their high efficiency and long operational hours. AirShip Technologies Group has introduced the AirShip V9 and V17 VTOL tactical aircraft, capable of transporting cargo and personnel. The V17 model, designed for autonomous operation, can transport four individuals to forward operating bases and support various military operations in challenging terrains, including water bodies and obstacles, enhancing troop mobility and mission success.

By Type, Tactical UAV  segment is expected to hold the largest market size for the year 2024

In the military UAV market, hydrogen fuel cells present a game-changing power solution. Compared to traditional batteries or internal combustion engines, hydrogen fuel cells offer extended flight endurance, enabling longer mission durations for applications requiring extended loitering times or long-distance travel. Hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity through a clean, chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, resulting in only water vapor as a byproduct. This eco-friendly feature sets them apart from conventional UAV power sources. Moreover, hydrogen fuel cells operate quietly, reducing noise emissions that can make UAVs less detectable, enhancing stealth capabilities for sensitive military operations. Customizable to specific power and range requirements, hydrogen fuel cells offer a versatile and efficient power solution for military UAV applications.

North America is forecasted to hold the largest market size by region in 2024

The North America region, being one of the largest operators of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and a significant contributor to the global UAV market, is driving the demand for advanced UAV technologies. With a growing emphasis on security and surveillance, there is a heightened requirement for UAVs with extended flight endurance. Fuel cells present a promising solution, offering significantly longer flight times than traditional lithium-polymer batteries. The United States Department of Defense (US DOD) is actively pursuing the adoption of eco-friendly energy sources in its platforms, making fuel cells a viable option for military UAVs. This trend is expected to propel the fuel cell market for military UAVs in North America.

The Fuel Cells for Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market growth and forecasting report also includes detailed analyses of the competitive landscape of the market growth and forecasting and information about 20 market companies, including:

  • AeroVironment Inc.
  • Aviation Turkey
  • Ballard Power Systems Inc.
  • Barnard Microsystems Ltd.
  • Cobham Ltd.
  • Doosan Corp.
  • Elbit Systems Ltd.
  • General Dynamics Corp.
  • H3 Dynamics Holdings Pte. Ltd.
  • Honeywell International Inc.
  • Intelligent Energy Ltd.
  • Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.
  • ISS Aerospace
  • MMC
  • Northrop Grumman Corp.
  • Plug Power Inc.
  • Textron Inc.
  • The Boeing Co.
  • TW Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies
  • ZeroAvia Inc.

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Research Analysis Overview

Title: Fuel Cells Powering Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): A Shift from Fossil Fuels to Green Propulsion The military segment of the UAV market is increasingly adopting fuel cells to power their reconnaissance and battlefield mission UAVs. Military personnel rely heavily on UAVs for surveillance, photography, logistics, and other critical tasks. However, the use of conventional UAVs powered by gasoline, jet fuel, or petrol poses challenges such as high weight ratios, limited endurance, and the dependence on nonrenewable resources. Fuel cells, particularly hydrogen fuel cells, offer a promising solution. They provide higher power ratios, longer endurance, and are more environmentally friendly compared to their fossil fuel counterparts. Defense forces worldwide are evaluating the use of fuel cells in military UAVs to reduce their carbon footprint and improve operational efficiency. The private sectors are also investing in hydrogen fuel cells for UAVs in commercial environments. This trend is expected to trickle down to the military sector, leading to potential layoffs in the conventional UAV industry. Solar cells and Li-ion batteries are other green propulsion options, but hydrogen fuel cells offer the longest endurance and fastest refueling times. In conclusion, fuel cells, specifically hydrogen fuel cells, are set to revolutionize the military UAV market by providing a more efficient, longer-lasting, and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional UAVs powered by fossil fuels.

Market Research Overview

Title: Fuel Cells Powering Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the Market: Insitu, Hogreen Air, and Beyond The military UAV market is witnessing a significant shift towards fuel cell technology for powering these unmanned vehicles. Companies like Insitu and Hogreen Air are leading the charge, integrating hydrogen fuel cells into their fixed-wing UAVs for pipeline inspections and military reconnaissance. Operational range and payload capacity are crucial factors driving this trend. Membrane materials, such as those developed at Harvard University, play a vital role in enhancing the efficiency and durability of these fuel cells. Commercial drone manufacturers, like Drone Works, are also exploring fuel cell technology for cargo and passenger UAVs, subject to regulatory approvals and rules. Honeywell Aerospace, EnergyOR, and Horizon Fuel are some other key players in this space. Military segment applications include infrastructure monitoring, public safety, and battlefield missions. Airframe designs are being reimagined to accommodate hydrogen storage systems, charging infrastructure, and electrical energy requirements. The Department of Energy, along with private sectors like General Atomics, ISS Aerospace, and Ultra, are investing in research and development for hydrogen fuel cells, solid oxide fuel cells, and other advanced propulsion systems. Product literature and independent perspectives from industry experts project a promising future for fuel cell-powered UAVs in various sectors, including military, construction and mining, and commercial environments. As the projection period unfolds, public-private collaborations will play a significant role in advancing the technology, addressing weight ratios, and integrating fuels and oxidizers for optimal power ratios. The military sector, defense forces, and armed forces stand to benefit significantly from this green propulsion technology. However, challenges such as layoffs due to workforce transitions and the availability of raw materials remain. The integration of fuel cells with conventional UAVs, like those using gasoline or kerosene jet fuel, Li-ion batteries, and fossil fuels, is an ongoing process. In conclusion, fuel cell technology is poised to revolutionize the UAV market, offering significant advantages in terms of endurance, environmental research, and economies of scale. The future of military UAVs is green, and fuel cells are leading the charge.


Technavio Research
Jesse Maida
Media & Marketing Executive
US: +1 844 364 1100
UK: +44 203 893 3200

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