More than 18,000 rotorcraft worth approximately $220.7 billion will be produced between 2019 and 2028, according to a new study from Forecast International. The study predicts that Airbus Helicopters will have the largest market share by unit volume, at 19.79 percent, while Lockheed Martin unit Sikorsky will dominate by dollar value, at 19.6 percent, due to its ongoing military programs, including the $31 billion CH-53K.
The study predicts that military helicopter unit volume production will continue its decline from 900 units in 2013 to the low to high 500 unit level between 2022 and 2027, after which the trend should reverse thanks to new military rotorcraft programs worldwide, including future vertical lift (FVL) in the U.S., Britain’s new medium-lift program, the and French HIL program. It predicts that OEMs will produce 5,693 military rotorcraft $148 billion between 2019 and 2028. This includes remanufacturing programs such as the U.S. AH-64E and the CH-47F.
Civil helicopter production is expected to continue its gradual climb following the carnage of 2013 to 2016 brought on by the contraction of the offshore energy sector. The study notes that worldwide civil rotorcraft production increased from 905 in 2016 to 1,114 in 2018. Sectors exhibiting increased global demand include law enforcement, utility, search and rescue, and corporate transport. The study also noted the potential for wind farm maintenance to increase demand as well as the growing EMS market in Asia, but cautioned that a historic sales driver for civil sales, the U.S. EMS market, is slowing.
While the nascent eVTOL market has potential to drive the civil market higher, the study noted that “enthusiasm over eVTOL should be tempered with a recognition that a number of issues need to be addressed before the full potential of these aircraft can be realized.” These include airspace, regulation, infrastructure, safety, and public acceptance. Overall, the study predicts the production of 12,316 civil rotorcraft between 2019 and 2028, divided between 2,750 piston units and 9,566 turbine-powered rotorcraft, with a total civil market production value of $72.7 billion.
Among the manufacturers of all civil and military rotorcraft, Airbus Helicopters will have the largest market share by volume, followed by Robinson (17.3 percent), Bell (13 percent), Russian Helicopters (12.7 percent), Leonardo (9.4 percent), Sikorsky (6.7 percent), Boeing (6.2 percent), and China’s AVIC (4.2 percent). The study notes the growth of foreign manufacturers in recent years, including Russian Helicopters, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).