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Wed, Mar 17, 2010

Near-Term Growth Expected In Medium/Heavy Military Rotorcraft Market

Production Estimates Valued At Over $92 Billion Over 10 Years

In a new study, "The Market for Medium/Heavy Military Rotorcraft," Forecast International projects that 4,319 such rotorcraft will be produced during the 10-year time period between 2010 and 2019. The value of this production is estimated at $92.3 billion in constant 2010 dollars. In general, Forecast International defines a medium/heavy rotorcraft as one with a gross weight that equals or exceeds 15,000 lb.

The projections contained within the new Forecast International study indicate that the medium/heavy segment of the military rotorcraft market will experience strong growth in the near term. Some decline in the market, though, is anticipated in the longer term. On an annual basis, production in the medium/heavy military segment is expected to grow by more than 25 percent in the first half of the forecast period, from 391 rotorcraft in 2010 to 500 in 2014. A combination of factors is driving this growth, including an influx of new models onto the global market as well as continued robust rotorcraft procurement by the U.S. military services and others.

The steady rise in output, though, will not extend into the second half of the forecast timeframe. Beginning in 2015, annual production in the medium/heavy military sector is projected to trend downward, dropping to a level of 376 units by 2019. By this point of the forecast period, production for a number of high-volume procurement programs will be nearing an end, and many of the production ramp-ups for once-new rotorcraft models will have crested.

The Forecast International study also includes market share projections by company for the 10-year forecast timeframe. These projections indicate that Sikorsky will lead the market during this period in both unit production and production value.

According to Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski, "Sikorsky benefits from a solid business foundation of strong U.S. military procurement, as well as export sales, of Black Hawk and Naval Hawk helicopters."  Other major players in the medium/heavy military rotorcraft market will include Boeing, the NH Industries consortium (of AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, and Fokker), and Russian Helicopters.

Black Hawk File Photo

Among the emerging trends in this market that are identified by the Forecast International study is a new emphasis by the U.S. military on technology innovation and new product development. In recent years, rotorcraft procurement by the U.S. military services has mostly been of improved derivatives of already-existing helicopter types rather than all-new, clean-sheet designs. In response, U.S. manufacturers have generally evolved their military helicopter product lines around these requirements. Jaworowski says, "In many ways, the U.S. military has the domestic helicopter industry for which it has been asking." Concerns about the stifling of innovation within this industry, though, have in part prompted the Pentagon to launch a number of initiatives intended to kickstart research and development efforts.

FMI: www.forecastinternational.com

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