High altitude platforms (HAPs) are objects stationed at a height of more than 50,000 feet from Earth’s surface. HAPs are commonly deployed in the stratospheric layer, far higher than the altitude at which commercial aircraft operate. Thus, HAPs are capable of covering large surface areas and can be used for maritime and land-based applications. These platforms are used for various applications, such as communication systems, persistent surveillance, and navigation. Apart from these, HAPs are also used for applications such as aerial imaging, environmental monitoring, and Internet services. HAPs are often referred to as alternatives to satellite systems due to their capacity of fulfilling similar purposes.
The most significant factor augmenting the HAP market’s growth is their competitive advantage over satellite systems. HAPs require much lower expenses for system deployment and operation than satellite systems. Additionally, the payloads attached to HAPs are also compatible with the existing infrastructure, which makes them preferable to satellite systems. These systems have shorter turn-around times than satellite systems due to their proximity to Earth’s surface in comparison with satellites. Furthermore, the market for HAPs is significantly driven by the increasing defense expenditure of major countries worldwide. Government & defense is the largest segment of this market in terms of revenue and adoption. Thus, growing expenditure on surveillance systems is expected to significantly spur the market’s growth in the coming years.
The market for HAPs is also driven by the growing penetration of Internet services worldwide. HAPs are increasingly being used to deliver wireless Internet services, which are further expected to witness substantial growth in the coming years. One of the most prominent instances is Project Loon by Google, Inc., which aims to provide Internet services through aerostat systems (balloons) deployed in the stratosphere. Nevertheless, the HAPs market faces some of the challenges related to the costs and operational difficulties. Although much less so than the market for satellite systems, the market for HAPs is significantly hampered by the high initial and operating costs of UAV aircraft. This makes these systems inaccessible to countries with low defense budgets. Furthermore, aerostat systems and airships pose operational challenges such as extremely slow deployment, difficult handling, and restriction on payload weight.
The global HAPs market is segmented into type of platforms, payload, application, and geographic regions. On the basis of platform type, the market is segmented into airships, UAV aircraft, and tethered aerostat systems. In 2014, the UAV aircraft segment accounted for the largest share, in terms of revenue, of the global HAPs market. This was due to high cost of the aircraft (resulting in higher revenue per unit) coupled with strong adoption from countries such as the U.S., China, Russia, and France. However, the tethered aerostat systems segment is estimated to witness high demand during the forecast period because of advantages that include low costs, easy upgrading, and low maintenance offered by these platforms over UAV aircrafts. On the basis of payloads, the global HAPs market is segmented into communication, surveillance systems, EO/IR systems, and navigation. The global market for HAPs was dominated by the communication segment in 2014. Communication is the most integral payload, making it the largest segment globally. Furthermore, the communication segment is predicted to hold its dominant position throughout the forecast period due to ongoing prospects for HAP-based wireless communication across different regions.
In 2014, North America accounted for the largest share, of over 31%, in terms of revenue, of the global HAPs market. This is due to the high penetration of UAV aircraft in the region. However, the global HAPs market is estimated to witness the highest growth in Asia Pacific during the forecast period. This is due to the rapidly increasing adoption of UAV aircrafts and aerostat systems in China, India, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.
Manufacturers in the global high altitude platforms market include TCOM L.P., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, Aerostar International, Inc. (Raven Industries, Inc.), Lindstrand Technologies Ltd., ILC Dover LP., Israel Aviation Industries Ltd., AeroVironment, Inc., Worldwide Aeros Corporation, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The global high altitude platforms market is consolidated, with players such as TCOM L.P. (leader in aerostat systems), Aerostar International, Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation dominating the market. Most companies operate in individual segments, such as in lighter-than-air (LTA) or heavier-than-air (HTA) vehicles.
High altitude platforms (HAPs) are systems equipped with different payloads used for applications such as surveillance, environmental monitoring, communication, and navigation. These systems are designed to stay aloft for long periods at altitudes of more than 50,000 feet. Typically, HAPs are stationed in the stratosphere layer, which are much higher than the altitude at which commercial aircraft operate. The most significant factor responsible for the growth of the HAP market is their cost effectiveness as compared to the satellite systems used for similar applications. HAPs require less operating and maintenance expenditure than satellites, and are compatible with the existing infrastructure. The government and defense sector is the largest consumer of HAPs, using them as efficient surveillance systems. High expenditure on this sector from various countries is another important factor propelling the market’s growth. Furthermore, the HAPs market is also significantly driven by the rapidly increasing penetration and demand for wireless communication services worldwide. The market witnesses significant restraints from the high costs of UAV aircraft, coupled with their lower flight hours. Additionally, the market is also challenged by some of the operational issues of aerostat systems and airships.
The market for high altitude platforms is segmented, based on the type of platforms, into airships, UAV aircrafts, and tethered aerostat systems. The market has been segmented based on the type of payloads into communication systems, surveillance, electro-optics/infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems, and navigation systems. On the basis of applications, the market for high altitude platforms is categorized into commercial, government & defense, and others. The commercial segment primarily comprises wireless communication systems, aerial imaging, and navigation. The others segment consists of applications such as environmental monitoring, space ports, and backup systems during satellite outages.
This report studies the current scenario and future market potential for high altitude platforms globally. The market for these HAPs has been extensively analyzed on the basis of types of platforms, applications, payloads, and geographic regions. The market sizes and forecasts in terms of revenue (US$ Mn) for each of these segments have been provided for the period from 2013 to 2023, considering 2014 and 2015 as the base years. The report also provides the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for each segment of the market for forecast period between 2015 and 2023.
Geographically, the global high altitude platforms market has been segmented into five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. The market size and forecast for each of the above regions has been provided for the period from 2013 to 2023 along with the CAGR (%) for the years from 2015 to 2023. The study also includes a qualitative analysis of the competitive scenario for major countries/regions in these geographical segments. The overview section of the report comprises qualitative analysis of the overall market, highlighting the factors that determine market dynamics such as drivers, restraints, and opportunities, along with the key trends analysis. Apart from this, the report includes major regulations imposed on the high altitude platforms market. The report also contains a section wherein the technical operation of the high altitude platforms has been discussed.
The report also provides a section on the competitive landscape, wherein the market positioning analysis of the leading players in high altitude platforms market in 2014 has been discussed. The section includes description of competitive strategies adopted by the leading players in the market for individual products considered. The report concludes with the profiles of major players in the global high altitude platforms market, such as TCOM L.P., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Company, Aerostar International, Inc. (Raven Industries, Inc.), Lindstrand Technologies Ltd., ILC Dover LP., Israel Aviation Industries Ltd., AeroVironment, Inc., Worldwide Aeros Corporation, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
High Altitude Platforms Market Segmentation:
High Altitude Platforms Market, by Type
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
- Tethered Aerostat Systems
High Altitude Platforms Market, by Payload
- EO/IR Systems
High Altitude Platforms Market, by Application
- Government & Defense
High Altitude Platforms Market, by Geography
- North America
- Asia Pacific
- Middle East and Africa (MEA)
- Latin America