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The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing capability and applicability of drones, coupled with falling costs, and growing importance of technologies such as [quadcopters, drone modularisation, and high-altitude platform stations (HAPS). 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 Drones in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Aircraft landing gear. Buy the report here.

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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. 

Aircraft landing gear is a key innovation area in drones 

Landing gear is the mainstay of an aircraft during parking, taxiing, take-off and landing. The most common type of landing gear is wheels, but aircraft can also be fitted with floats for water operations and skis for snow landings. 

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 aircraft landing gear. 

Key players in aircraft landing gear – 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’. 

Patent volumes related to aircraft landing gear

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Airbus 168 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 132 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 88 Unlock Company Profile
Textron 88 Unlock Company Profile
COSCO Shipping Holdings 40 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Xaircraft Technology 26 Unlock Company Profile
SZ DJI Technology 25 Unlock Company Profile
Leonardo 12 Unlock Company Profile
Saab 12 Unlock Company Profile
Chemring Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 8 Unlock Company Profile
Eurocopter Deutschland Gesellschaft Mit Beschränkter Haftung 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 8 Unlock Company Profile
Subaru 7 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
Autel Robotics USA 6 Unlock Company Profile
Surefly 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Wenzhou Ruichu Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 5 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among aerospace and defence companies, Airbus is the leading patent filer in aircraft landing gear. The company produces a wide range of manned and unmanned platforms, ranging from commercial aircraft such as the A330 to manned military aircraft such as the A400M, to unmanned aircraft such as Eurodrone, Zephyr, Sirtap, and VSR700. Aircraft landing gear is an essential component of any aircraft, including unmanned platforms. As such, given Airbus’ large portfolio of aircraft, the firm is highly invested in development of the technology. Other key patent filers include Safran, a major aircraft engine producer, and Boeing, an aircraft OEM prime. 

In terms of application diversity, Chemring Group holds the most widely applicable patents in aircraft landing gear. Surefly and Saab come in at second and third place, respectively. By geographic diversity, Surefly holds the top position, followed by Lockheed Martin and Leonardo

Aircraft landing gears are essential components of all aircraft, allowing the aircraft to land safely and quickly. As unmanned platforms continue to proliferate both horizontally and vertically, it is likely that demand for aircraft landing gears will continue to increase. 

To further understand how drones are disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Drones in Aerospace and Defense.

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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.