Keen com­pe­ti­tion in medium/heavy mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft mar­ket: Forecast In­ter­na­tional


Forecast In­ter­na­tional is pro­ject­ing that 4,796 medium/heavy mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft will be pro­duced be­tween 2013 and 2022. The Con­necti­cut-based mar­ket re­search firm es­ti­mates the value of this pro­duc­tion at $114.4 bil­lion in con­stant 2013 US dol­lars. The com­pany de­fines a medium/heavy ro­tor­craft as one hav­ing a gross weight of 6,804 kilo­grams (15,000 lb) or greater.

An­nual medium/heavy mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft pro­duc­tion has grown steadily since 2005. The study projects that this growth will con­tinue into 2013, when pro­duc­tion is forecast to reach 615 ro­tor­craft. There­after, the yearly pro­duc­tion will en­ter into a pe­riod of grad­ual de­cline, fall­ing to only 380 ro­tor­craft by the year 2022.

This an­tic­i­pated de­cline is at­trib­ut­able to sev­eral fac­tors. The bud­getary en­vi­ron­ment in the US and many other na­tions has be­come se­vere, and high lev­els of government debt are forc­ing of­fi­cials to look for ar­eas, such as mil­i­tary bud­gets, in which to re­duce spend­ing.

Mean­while, a num­ber of key mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft ac­qui­si­tion pro­grammes are well into their pro­duc­tion runs and will soon run their course. Other pro­grammes have been stretched out, with smaller an­nual pro­cure­ment lots. At the same time, few ma­jor new pro­cure­ment pro­grammes have emerged that would help keep over­all build rates grow­ing. Or­der back­logs at man­u­fac­tur­ers are de­clin­ing. As the mar­ket shrinks, the com­pe­ti­tion among man­u­fac­tur­ers for mar­ket share will be­come ever more fierce.

Be­yond the forecast time­frame, the study points to the US mil­i­tary’s fu­ture ver­ti­cal lift (FVL) pro­gramme as be­ing es­pe­cially im­por­tant to the long-term fu­ture of the mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft in­dus­try. The FVL project in­volves the devel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of a new ro­tor­craft fam­ily to meet fu­ture US at­tack, scout, and util­ity ro­tor­craft needs. Ser­vice en­try is ten­ta­tively planned for around 2030. US mil­i­tary ac­qui­si­tion of FVL-based ro­tor­craft, com­bined with pos­si­ble ex­port sales, means that the mar­ket po­ten­tial for such a ro­tor­craft fam­ily is sub­stan­tial.

Ac­cord­ing to Forecast In­ter­na­tional se­nior aero­space an­a­lyst Ray­mond Ja­worowski, “The con­trac­tor or con­trac­tor team ul­ti­mately se­lected to pro­duce the FVL se­ries could be in a po­si­tion to even­tu­ally dom­i­nate the mil­i­tary ro­tor­craft mar­ket.”

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