Mike Blades

North American Research Director, Aerospace, Defense & Security,
Frost & Sullivan

Michael graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1991 with a degree in Operations Research. After graduation he attended pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas. Following pilot training Mike flew the KC-135 Stratotanker and was an instructor in both the E-3 AWACS and C-21 learjet. He commanded sorties supporting Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Allied Force, and Noble Eagle. He also controlled all C-130 traffic in and out of Iraq during a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While assigned to staff positions, Mike served as a data reduction analyst for the Phillips Lab (now the Air Force Research Lab) at Kirtland Air Force Base where he split time between the Argus airborne test bed and the Satellite Assessment Center. He also served two tours in Air Education and Training Command as the Chief of the Tanker/Airlift training branch and Chief of the Flying Training Section responsible for financial planning and analysis for all mobility training aircraft in AETC. While in AETC, Mike was also heavily involved with training systems requirements analyses for both the Joint Cargo Aircraft and the KC-46. Mike’s expertise is centered around worldwide flying operations as well as training and simulation. After retiring from the Air Force with nearly 21 years of service, he was hired by Frost & Sullivan where he has been an aerospace, defense, and security analyst and consultant for over 6 years and was recently promoted to director of aerospace, defense, and security research for the North American region. Mike has also earned a Master’s degree in Aerospace Operations as well as an MBA. His main areas of research and analysis are the global commercial, civil, and military unmanned aerial vehicles markets as well as the US military training and simulation market. He has spoken about UAS and counter UAS markets at AUVSI’s annual conference, as well as Technology Training Corporation’s UAS West and UAS East Conferences, and moderated panels at the Interdrone and Drone Dealer conferences.