Defence & Security

Rise of The Drones: 11 Exciting UAS Companies Innovating in Defense

Published on
September 26, 2023


In an age where technological advancements are reshaping the battlefield, the drone industry stands at the forefront of defense transformation. From stealthy surveillance to precision strikes, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are becoming vital assets to global military, security, and defense forces.

Read more: Human-Machine Teamwork: The Future of Military Collaboration

As the skies witness a new era of autonomous prowess, an emerging category of companies are driving this aerial evolution. This article showcases 11 innovative companies that we're following closely who are not only redefining UAS technology but also enhancing the defense capabilities of nations worldwide. Dive in to discover the champions of the next-gen skyward frontier (in no particular order).

Featured UAS Companies

1. Skydio

2. PDW

3. SAS Tech

4. Freefly Systems

5. AeroVironment

6. Teledyne FLIR

7. Parrot

8. Aeronautics

9. General Atomics

10. Shield AI



Skydio's compact autonomous drone, powered by AI, provides an efficient flying experience paired with obstacle avoidance that makes flying safe. Seeing in every direction using six 4k 200° navigation cameras, Skydio understands the world around it using onboard AI, and makes smart decisions to fly autonomously with 360° obstacle avoidance, even in GPS-denied environments. Skydio 2+ turns anybody into an expert pilot and helps you get the job done safer and faster than a manual drone.

Battlefield Prowess: militaries can generate asymmetric situational awareness advantages by carrying rugged, portable systems into the field. See day and night, and fly undetected in contested airspace even at low altitudes. Skydio’s military-grade airframe, rugged body, and folding arms are engineered for unparalleled portability and performance. Essential for tightening the OODA loop. You can navigate successfully even when the enemy is jamming radio-frequency (RF) or GPS.


The PDW C100 technology platform is an industry-leading sUAS developed specifically for the Department of Defense (DoD), enabling features previously only available on larger fixed-wing assets to be launched organically by a single soldier.

The C100 is built around a modular open architecture which allows new hardware and capabilities to be seamlessly integrated. It offers a wide range of advanced mission capabilities, including targeting and identification, signals intelligence, direct effects, and payload/supply delivery. The platform fits into a rucksack and supports many integrations with leading sensors, payloads, and novel technologies.  

By implementing a rigorous verification and validation process at all stages of design, PDW has ensured the C100 meets the highest standards of quality, performance, and reliability.

Spirit Aeronautical Systems (SAS)

SAS is an unmanned systems manufacturer of various fixed wing (FW) and multirotor (MR) unmanned with their main development focus at present being the heavy load MR platforms (UAVs). Their company also manufactures a series of ground support equipment necessary for the operation of its unmanned systems. SAS offers highest possible flexibility for a broad range of missions and applications.

Their UAVs are designed to support the pilot in executing his manual and automated missions. Exceptional conditions are anticipated and their systems have been tested and became operationaly mature in such conditions. With their roots in aeronautical and aerodynamic design, flight stability and smooth remote control operation is the key. The diverse manufacturing landscape in Greece, with high cold and snowy mountains and windy islands with corrosive sea environment, ensures their systems can perform and withstand the full variety of environmental conditions.

Freefly Systems

Freefly Systems is a US-based company that designs, manufactures, and markets camera movement systems and camera stabilizers used in cinematography including unmanned aerial vehicles for aerial cinematography, gimbals, and remote controlled vehicles.

Freefly Systems’ all-electric Alta X drone has become the second drone to be approved under the Pentagon's Blue sUAS 2.0 program. It's a foldable drone that can be deployed in less than 20 seconds and can be set up with various third-party payloads, such as gimbaled EO/IR, mapping, LiDAR, and drop/delivery capabilities. The Alta X can also carry a maximum payload of 35 pounds, or 12.5 pounds to stay below the 55-pound weight limit. The drone can stay airborne for approximately 50 minutes and can be flown in all weather conditions.


AeroVironment designs, develops, and provides unmanned aircraft systems and commercial information solutions. The company offers tactical missile systems, small UAS, sensors, digital data link, and unmanned ground vehicles and their fleet of unmanned aircraft systems is one of the most widely deployed in the world. It sets new standards for multi-mission capability, versatility, and ease of use, providing our frontline heroes with previously impossible levels of situational awareness.

Teledyne FLIR

Teledyne FLIR Defense is a leading provider of advanced imaging and sensing technologies for military and commercial applications. The company's military drones are used by a variety of armed forces around the world for a range of missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition and designation, close air support (CAS), and electronic warfare (EW).

Teledyne's most popular military drones include the Black Hornet 3 Nano-Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), the Short Range Tactical Quadcopter (SR-TQ), and the Vulture High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). They are playing a leading role in the development and deployment of military drones. The company's drones are helping armed forces around the world to improve their situational awareness, lethality, and survivability.


Parrot is a French company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of consumer and professional drones. The company is also making a significant impact in the defense and military sectors, where its drones are being used for a variety of missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition and designation, electronic warfare (EW), and force protection.

A key advantage of Parrot drones is their versatility. The company offers a variety of different drone models, each with its own unique capabilities; for example, the ANAFI USA drone is designed to meet the highest security standards, making it ideal for ISR missions in sensitive areas. The Anafi Ai drone, on the other hand, is equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities, which allows it to perform complex tasks autonomously.


Aeronautics is an Israeli aerospace defense company that specializes in the development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The company is a world leader in the UAV market, and its products are used by military and security forces around the world.

Aeronautics' UAVs are used by militaries and security forces in over 50 countries around the world. Some of the company's customers include the Israeli Defense Forces, the United States Army, and the Indian Air Force. They are used to carry out a wide range of missions, including surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, and strike. UAVs are also being used for humanitarian missions, such as search and rescue and disaster relief.

General Atomics (GA)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) is an affiliate of privately-held General Atomics and is a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions. GA's UAS are used for a variety of military missions, including surveillance, reconnaissance, strike, and electronic warfare. The company's most well-known UAVs include the Predator, Reaper, and Gray Eagle.

The Predator was the first UAV to be used in combat by the US military, and it has played a significant role in the War on Terror. The Reaper is a larger and more powerful UAV than the Predator, and it is capable of carrying more weapons and flying longer distances. The Gray Eagle is a multi-mission UAV that is used for both surveillance and strike missions.

Shield AI

Shield AI is a defense technology company that develops AI-driven autonomous drones and robotic systems for defense and security applications. Shield AI's flagship product is Hivemind, an AI pilot that can be used to control drones and other aircraft autonomously, without GPS, communications, or a pilot. Hivemind uses a variety of sensors, including cameras, radar, and lidar, to perceive the surrounding environment and make decisions about how to navigate and avoid obstacles.

Shield AI is also developing new autonomous drone technologies for commercial applications, such as package delivery and disaster response.


XTEND is an Israeli technology company that develops human-guided autonomous machine systems. Their XOS operating system fuses the best of human intelligence and machine autonomy to enhance the operator's abilities. XTEND's drones are already operationally deployed worldwide by military, homeland security, and security professionals.

XTEND's UAV technology is revolutionizing the way that militaries operate. By providing human-guided autonomous machines, XTEND is enabling militaries to conduct missions more safely, effectively, and efficiently.


There you have it. We've delved deeper into the pioneering companies at the forefront of UAS technology around the world, emphasizing their impact on the defense, security, and military sectors. As we've seen, UAS are no longer mere novelties or just drones; they're indispensable tools reshaping global defense strategies enhancing frontline battlefield prowess. The market's vibrancy is evident, with increasing investments and trust placed in these autonomous systems. With such potent capabilities and innovative frontrunners leading the charge, the future of defense looks skyward. The UAS sector in defense is not just thriving; it's soaring.

Written by
Defence & Security Director
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