The light military rotorcraft market has entered a period that will see annual production generally head downward during the next 15 years, according to a report by Forecast International.
The firm projects that manufacturers will build 165 light military rotorcraft in 2014 and 166 in 2015, with production then climbing to 208 rotorcraft in 2016. However, this production spike is expected to be a temporary, one-year phenomenon, with annual production resuming a downward track in 2017, and declining to only 55 rotorcraft in 2028.
Forecast International predicts that 1,495 light military aircraft will be produced from 2014 through 2028. The Connecticut-based market research firm estimates the value of this production at $23.6 billion in 2014 U.S. dollars. The company defines a military rotorcraft as light when it has a maximum gross weight of less than 6,804 kilograms (15,000 lb).
The light military rotorcraft market is being impacted by a number of factors, most notably the fact that many nations around the world are, and have been, reducing defence spending. Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski said, “Ongoing rotorcraft procurement programs are being stretched out, reduced in size and scope, or even cancelled altogether. At the same time, very few new-start programmes have emerged that would help keep production rates up.”
This trend is especially pronounced in the U.S. and much of Europe. And, with North America and Europe being the two largest geographic markets for light military rotorcraft, the effect on the overall market is considerable. However, Forecast International notes that manufacturers will still be able to find select sales opportunities, particularly in the Middle East, Latin America, and much of Asia.
Data indicate that Airbus Helicopters will be the leading light military rotorcraft manufacturer during the 2014-2028 forecast period. Airbus Helicopters is projected to produce 431 such helicopters, worth $7.4 billion, during the period. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is projected to build 278 units during the timeframe, while Bell Helicopter is expected to produce 269 units.