Forecast International is predicting an $88.1 billion market for medium/heavy (15,000 pounds and up) military rotorcraft between now and 2018. Forecast says competition in the market is between all-new designs from non-U.S. firms versus derivative models based on older designs from U.S. manufacturers.
The derivatives flowed from the Pentagon’s historical preference for upgraded models of established helicopters versus a clean sheet of paper design, according to Forecast. The firm said that historical approach now puts U.S. manufacturers at a “competitive disadvantage” on the world market. As measured in dollar value, Forecast predicts that Sikorsky will lead the sector, followed by Bell/Boeing (V-22) and Europe’s NH Industries, maker of the NH90 multi-role helicopter.
The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) recently ordered a second batch of 22 NH90 tactical transport helicopters, a follow-on order to 12 previously ordered in 2007. While only 25 NH90s have been delivered, more than 529 have been ordered from 14 countries worldwide.