Combat aircraft market to reach $500 billion by 2026

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The global combat aircraft market is set for rapid growth, with modernisation and procurement opportunities in the global combat aircraft market to exceed $101 billion by 2026, according to new research.

Frost & Sullivan said in a new report that geographical instability, territorial and border disputes, and the need to replace ageing fleets with modern fourth-/ fifth-generation multirole fighters that have longer ferry range, higher payload capacity, and better survivability against integrated air defence networks are key factors fuelling a phenomenal CAGR of 39.0% to 2026.

Frost & Sullivan anticipates planned and perceived modernisation and procurement opportunities in the market to exceed $101 billion and revenues to reach $493.14 billion by 2026.

“Geopolitics aside, the combat fleet in many countries such as India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are reaching obsolescence fast and replacements must be procured to ensure that power projection capabilities of these countries are maintained. There is a global renewed emphasis on stealth, sensor fusion, manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capability, and active protection system upgrades,” said Arjun Sreekumar, Industry Analyst, Defence at Frost & Sullivan. “To harness lucrative growth opportunities, players should offer a combination of low-cost platforms, aggressive marketing, and flexible payment mechanisms.”

Growth opportunities from a regional perspective include:
— Geopolitical issues necessitate new procurement and modernisation in the Middle East in countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates

— Modernisation of existing systems or procurement of second-hand aircraft rather than pursuing expensive acquisition programs in former Soviet bloc countries and other developing countries with smaller economies or low economic growth

— Collaborative new platforms planned in Europe (Franco-German next-generation fighter) and the Asia-Pacific region (Japan and Indonesia)

— Russia and China modernising quickly and phasing out outdated inventory

— The United States seeking several upgrade programs for its current combat aircraft inventory to extend service lives into the 2030s, until the F-35 and new fifth-/sixth-generation multirole fighters can be procured



“Older generation combat aircraft will find future air combat environments challenging in the face of new air and ground-based sensors and weapons capabilities, increased digitalisation of battlespace, and forces moving towards collaborative network-centric operations,” noted Sreekumar. “The installation of new generation electronic countermeasures will be a minimum survival requirement in a rapidly evolving environment.”