April 08, 2010

Military Helicopters: “The Brightest Spot in the Entire Aerospace Business"

According to the head of analysis at the Teal Group, Richard Aboulafia: "Helicopters are the fastest-growing sector of the global military aerospace market at the moment and are the brightest spot in the entire aerospace business." The Military Helicopter Market 2010-2020 report forecasts that $15.3 billion will be spent by global governments in 2010.

Demand for helicopters has grown in Iraq and Afghanistan; due to public pressure and perilous explosive devices on the roads, it is widely recognised that an increase in vertical transport is essential for soldier safety and military efficacy. One of the largest areas for growth in military helicopters is in the Asian markets, with growing orders for helicopters from India, Thailand and Taiwan.

Even though military spending on helicopters has not been left unscathed by the recession and governments are increasingly tightening their belts, many innovative helicopter programmes and upgrade contracts have been secured by helicopter manufacturers.

In January 2010 Anglo-Italian helicopter producer, AugustaWestland, settled a £560-million deal with the Indian Government to provide the Indian Air Force with 12 AW101 helicopters. In addition, they have so far supplied four upgraded Lynx Mk9 helicopters to the British Armed forces out of an agreed 12 and are developing an advanced Lynx Wildcat Helicopter, which they aim to bring out by 2014.

Even though Eurocopter saw a drastic decrease in orders for domestic helicopters in 2009, demand for military helicopters has rocketed, providing the company with its second-highest sales figures in history. Similarly, Boeing reported a 6 percent rise in their Defence, Space & Security division in January 2010. Sikorsky has also landed two contracts with the US military that totals $1.52 billion, which will provide the army with Black Hawk helicopters and the navy with MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters.

With boosted funds from military spending, there have also been interesting, technological developments in automated helicopters. Sikorsky has invested one billion dollars in unmanned helicopters, including robotic Black Hawk helicopters, which it aims to launch in 2015.

With a growing demand for helicopters in the Asian market, the requirement for upgraded technology in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the development of innovative new technologies, the military helicopter market is flying high and strong.

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