Rolls-Royce has combined its crystal-ball-gazing talents with those of the Teal Group, the industrial forecasting specialist that usually provides its predictions alone, in preparing its annual 10-year prognosis on the vicissitudes of the turbine-engine market for helicopters. And wait, don’t rush for the exits yet, the forecast is for steady if unspectacular growth throughout the helicopter business.
Over the 2002-2011 period in question, the Rolls-Royce/Teal forecast predicts the delivery of 9,805 civil and military helicopters worldwide. The split between military and civilian sales is now nearly exactly 50/50. This balance is expected to tip in favor of military shipments as several major military programs enter their periods of heavy production. After that, the expected gradual recovery of the civil market from the current recession will result in a stronger civil sector. Of those 9,805 deliveries, a total of 4,785 units will go to the civil side between now and 2011. Turbine singles will account for 55 percent of deliveries; light twins 26 percent; and the rest will be piston-powered. Deliveries are expected to loiter in the high 400s annually, peaking at 510 units at the end of the period. The heavy action will take place in the military sector, where a total of 5,020 will go to the world’s armed forces over the next 10 years. Forty-five percent of all those helos will be multi-engine heavy transports and offshore maritime patrol craft, 26 percent will be intermediate twins and the rest miscellaneous liaison craft. New military rotorcraft shipments will climb to 470 units by 2007, with demand leveling off after that.