The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the pressing need for modernisation and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on High intensity warfare in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Payload stabilization gimbals.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Payload stabilisation gimbals is a key innovation area in high intensity warfare

Payload stabilisation gimbals are a critical component of all modern electro-optical / infrared ISR optronics suites and mission modules. The gimbals enable vehicular payloads such as optical cameras, laser designators and various other sensors to maintain stability and remain accurate despite the turbulence, movement or vibrations. Payload stabilisation gimbals are increasingly being developed specifically to support the integration of payloads on unmanned platforms and drones.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of payload stabilisation gimbals.

Key players in payload stabilisation gimbals – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

DJI Technology is currently the leading patent filer with regards to payload stabilisation gimbals. DJI Technology is a leading developer of commercial drones such as the DJI Mavic and Ghost quadcopters, all of which are equipped with payload stabilisation gimbals to ensure optimal stability for the operator’s camera. Raytheon Technologies and Teledyne Technologies are the two most prominent patent filers specific to the defence sector, as both companies have extensive portfolios of unmanned systems and optical modules such as Teledyne ’s flagship Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) optronics solutions. Other key patent filers in the aerospace and defence industry include AeroVironment , Airbus , Thales and MBDA .

In terms of application diversity, Raytheon Technologies has published the most diverse range of new patents, followed closely by Thales and AeroVironment , respectively. With regards to total geographic reach, MBDA held the top position, followed by Raytheon Technologies and Airbus .

As unmanned systems technology continues to mature, driving down procurement costs and expanding the client base, investment in payload stabilisation gimbals from firms specialising in unmanned systems will continue steadily over the coming decade. Furthermore, the significant overlap between commercial and military applications for stabilised gimbals is likely to further reinforce market growth as civilian entities with more funding and fewer limitations spur further innovation to maximise payload stability.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: High Intensity Warfare.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.