Drone manufacturing industry: a case study to assess the outcome in a strategic sector of the different policies in place to enhance European strategic autonomy

The EU needs to ensure the safe and efficient development of a drone ecosystem. The European Drone Strategy 2.0 aims to develop drones into a vector for the smart and sustainable mobility of the future.

On the military side, drones have been used in the defence sector for the last 30 years, but the European military drone capabilities remain less mature than in other regions of the world, whilst the potential contribution of military drones to future European Strategic autonomy is widely recognised.

Reaping synergies between the civil and the military use of drones, including counter-drone technologies, is an important success factor for the competitiveness of the European drone eco-system as well as the Union’s defence capabilities.

Cross-fertilization is possible and desirable whereby defence projects may benefit from innovative developments of SMEs for civilian drones and civil aeronautics may benefit from developments in the field of defence.

Unleashing the potential of the EU drone market and services requires the identification of critical technology building blocks, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, semi-conductors and EU space services and mobile telecommunications. This will help the EU build an innovative and competitive drone sector, reducing strategic dependencies.

This own-initiative opinion using the drone manufacturing industry as a case study will seek to examine the different policies in place to enhance European strategic autonomy and develop synergies between defence and civilian sector, in areas of great social interest such as civil protection, assessment of disasters and quick response of local authorities, traffic monitoring and others. It is important for civil society and stakeholders to mobilise resources and create new added values in the defense sector in such a manner that will maximise security outcome, by motivating industry to cover its own demand, produce appropriate and modern tools of deterrence and transform these at periods of lower turbulence towards civil protection activities.