U.S. Buys the Most Drones in the World, Spurs Billion Dollar Industry

Drones are as costly as they are controversial

The U.S. has almost singlehandedly created an economy of its own creation.

The war in Iraq may be over, but the war in Afghanistan still wages on. And although the Obama Administration has laid out a plan for withdrawal, the current administration is under fire for the use of drones in conflict areas. While the use of unmanned aircraft systems deployed as weapons is controversial, it means big business for the companies that manufacture them.

Worldwide spending on drones has more than doubled in the past six years. In 2007, spending on drones totaled $3.75 billion, but as of 2013, spending has increased to $7.5 billion and analysts anticipate that spending will increase to $11 billion by 2022.

Companies benefiting from this spending include Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Israel Aerospace, and Textron. The numbers were provided to CNN Money by IHS Jane’s Principal Analyst Derrick Maple.

Drones account for 31 percent of the U.S. military’s aircraft fleet, and the U.S. spends two-thirds of the $7.5 billion spent globally on drones.

For more on the U.S.’s spending on the controversial defense program, head to CNN Money.

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