Taking into account both civil and military markets, the yearly delivery value of rotorcraft is comparable to the $18 billion business jet industry, according to aviation analyst Brian Foley. In fact, he is forecasting some 24,000 rotorcraft deliveries over the next 10 years, including 12,000 civil turbines, 6,000 military turbines and 6,000 piston helicopters valued at roughly $250 billion–roughly the same outlook for business jet billings.
Foley said that the civil and military helicopter markets often run counter-cyclical to one another, making for a more stable sales environment than that for business, jets, with military frequently compensating for any civil slack and vice versa. There is also a more diverse pool of buyers for helicopters, he added.
“With business jets there are really only two primary buyers: corporations and individuals,” Foley said. “Civil rotorcraft share that same customer base, but with the added benefit of other buyer segments such as emergency medical services, police, utility, search and rescue and offshore oil/gas. In the same fashion, the military market contains broad, multiple segments, including scout/attack, naval warfare, squad transport, combat search and rescue, special operations and others.” As a bonus, he noted, “The same helicopter platform that’s used as a heavily armed scout for the Army can be cross-marketed to the civil side in EMS configuration.”