The rotorcraft industry is engulfed in what could be described as "A Tale of Two Markets," said Raymond Jaworows-ki., senior aerospace analyst for Forecast International. While opportunities for sales to the civil sector are finally growing after taking a hit post 9/11, the military market will probably shrink over the next decade, he said.
Production of light military helicopters that weigh under 8,000 pounds will likely reduce by half from now until 2023, he said. Production will peak in 2016 with 208 rotorcraft, but will fall to only 55 by 2028.
Over the past year, the two biggest potential competitions for light military helicopters have been cancelled, he said. The Army announced early this year that it would not pursue an armed aerial scout helicopter program to replace the aging Kiowa Warrior. Then, in October, India canceled its light utility helicopter competition.
This changing market landscape means that manufacturers are going to have to rethink their business strategy, he said. "They'll really look to that civil market to compensate for the loss of military sales."
With few big sales opportunities in North America and Europe, companies will have to hone in on smaller competitions in the Middle East and Asia, Jaworowski said. They will also have to focus on the aftermarket, including customer support and sustainment.
"Those military rotorcraft that they have produced in recent years are still going to be out there flying, even if they're...