Over the next decade, 1 411 light military rotorcraft will be manufactured, according to a new Forecast International report, which predicts that the market will decline slightly.
The Connecticut-based market research firm estimates the value of this production at $23.6 billion in constant 2013 US dollars. (The study defines a military rotorcraft as light when it has a maximum gross weight of less than 6 804 kilograms or 15 000 lb).
“The light military rotorcraft market has slowed after experiencing substantial growth in much of the previous decade. Annual production of light military rotorcraft more than doubled between 2006 and 2010, as yearly output rose from 94 units in 2006 to 209 in 2010. By 2012, though, production totalled only 180 units, and Forecast International predicts that further decline is in store over the next 10 years,” the company said.
According to Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski, “The trend in annual production in the light military rotorcraft market over the next 10 years will be somewhat uneven, but the overall trajectory will be downward.” The company’s projections indicate that annual production will total 171 units in 2013, but decline to 109 units by 2022.
Said Jaworowski, “A shrinking market usually results in a fiercely competitive market, and the light military rotorcraft sector will be no exception. Manufacturers will aggressively compete for every upcoming procurement.”
The light military rotorcraft market is being impacted by the fact that defence budgets in many nations are being reduced as governments, in the midst of severe financial straits, look to cut total spending, Forecast International said. In addition, a number of acquisition programmes for light military rotorcraft will come to an end in the next few years.
Very few new programmes have emerged that would help keep overall production in the market on an upward, or even stable, course during the forecast timeframe. The situation is especially acute in the US and in much of Europe. However, the study does see some regional bright spots in the market for manufacturers, such as Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia.
The new study includes projections of manufacturer market shares for the 2013-2022 period. The study indicates that Eurocopter and Bell will be the leading manufacturers of light military rotorcraft during the 10-year timeframe, with Eurocopter leading in unit production and Bell leading in monetary value of production.