Technological advances are broadening the functional capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for maritime operations. Navy drones and UAVs are being increasingly seen as a critical component of the maritime military strategies of the future.

While the deployment of UAVs that are designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and search and rescue missions in the naval domain is proliferating at a rapid pace, advanced navies are seeking to expand the utilisation of UAVs in logistic and other strategic warfare missions.

Finding the best naval unmanned aerial vehicle companies

Naval Technology has listed some of the major naval unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers based on its intel, insights and decades-long experience in the sector.

The list includes companies that specialise in the design, manufacturing and supply of different types of UAVs for a broad range of naval applications. It also includes naval UAV engine and propulsion system suppliers, servicing specialists, providers of technology to enable interoperable communication between manned and unmanned naval aircraft systems, and hardware and software providers for ground control station (GCS) for UAVs.

The information contained within the download document is useful for naval warfare strategists, naval commanders, senior procurement executives, intelligence specialists, naval defence system engineers, technicians, and any other individual involved in the acquisition, operation and maintenance of naval UAVs.

The download contains detailed information on some of the leading naval drone companies and their product lines, alongside contact details to aid your purchasing decision.

Related Buyer’s Guides which cover an extensive range of naval equipment, manufacturers and technology can also be found here.

Types and uses of navy drones

UAVs provide decisive tactical advantages to navies by enhancing their ability to perform intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance, anti-piracy and other security missions in the hazardous and hostile marine environment, cost-effectively and without risking human lives.

Naval UAVs offer long endurance and are designed to remain stable in harsh environments. They can also have different payload options to perform a range of offensive and defensive missions, including anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), mine countermeasures (MCM), electronic warfare (EW), battle damage assessment, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) detection, among others.

Navies use different types of UAVs including, but not limited to:

· Naval ISR drones

· Unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs)

· Medium altitude long endurance (MALE) high payload UAVs

· High altitude long endurance (HALE) UAVs

· Fixed wing, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and hybrid UAVs

· Search and rescue (SAR) drones

· Maritime patrol drones, and

· Tactical UAVs (TUAVs)

Advancements in navy drone technology

Modern naval UAVs are coming with comprehensive mission payloads, and enhanced endurance, data processing and communications capabilities to enhance the navy’s ability to detect fast-moving targets, including floating drifting mines in the path of a naval vessel.

Along with the initiatives to develop hydrogen and solar-powered naval drones that can endure airborne at a higher altitude for a limitless time, unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers have also started producing submarine-launched UAVs and aerial refuelling drones for naval use in defense.

Download our list here.