Michael Blades, VP, Americas for Aerospace, Defense & Security at Frost & Sullivan, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1991. Following pilot training, Mike flew the KC-135 Stratotanker and was an instructor in both the E-3 AWACS and C-21 Learjet. He later controlled all C-130 traffic in and out of Iraq during a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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 and the Commercial UAV Expo as well as Technology Training Corporation’s UAS West and UAS East Conferences. Mike has also moderated panels at every Interdrone conference since its inception.