Robotics systems are continuously being integrated into the force structures of militaries around the world. Although their market is now growing quickly, at times exponentially, their introduction has not been an easy process. 

Robotics in the airforce find applications in the form of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are being increasingly adopted by militaries across the world. The success and wide adoption of UAVs had led to the development of a range of unmanned systems and robots that have found applications in both army and naval sectors. 

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has gathered pace in recent years, with most states having access to some form of UAV platform. As new technologies such as AI and drone swarms mature, UAVs have the potential to revolutionise modern warfare. To counter this emerging threat, investment in cutting-edge Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) capabilities is essential.    

Discover the leading robotics companies in air defence  

Using its experience in the sector, Airforce Technology has listed some of the leading companies providing products and services related to robotics.  

The information provided in the download document is drafted for defence industry executives and technology leaders involved in robotics solutions.   

The download contains detailed information on suppliers and their product offerings, alongside contact details to aid purchase or hiring decisions.  

Amongst the leading vendors of airforce robotics solutions are General Atomic, Northrop Grumman, Avic, AeroVironment, Elbit Systems, Boeing, DJI, Baykar Defense, Chengdu Aerospace and Elbit Systems.  

Applications of robotics in the air defence industry 


Drone technology finds a number of applications in the aerospace and defence sector including surveillance, situational awareness, and search and rescue operations.  

Testing and inspection 

Robots can be used to perform maintenance and inspections of aircraft platforms using ultrasonic systems and other sensors. They can reach difficult-to-access areas and perform a more thorough inspection than human technicians. Robots can also use non-destructive testing methods to test a system or aircraft, which is crucial for the development process. 

Manufacturing support 

Manufacturers are increasingly deploying robots in a range of applications such as providing real-time feedback during manufacturing, sanding and paint removal, and sealing and applying coatings for large aircraft. 

The assembly of aircraft wings, platforms and other systems requires high precision. Advanced robotics sensors are being deployed to drill openings for the assembly of joints and crews with precision to avoid the possibility of cracks that may lead to loss of aircraft if not detected at an early stage. 

Robotic surgery 

The US Air Force’s medical service is training its military healthcare providers and surgical teams to use state-of-the-art medical robots. Surgeries conducted using robotics have delivered improved patient outcomes compared to traditional surgery. Robots help in increasing the mobility of the surgeon, provide better visualisation and operate with greater precision which leads to more successful surgeries, shorter recovery times, and lowers costs. 

Patrolling operations 

The US Air Force introduced robotic dogs at the Tyndall Air Force Base to conduct security patrolling operations. The robot dogs help in enhancing the security and safety of the military personnel and civilians within the base. They serve as a force multiplier and provide enhanced situational awareness by collecting and processing a large amount of data.