NEWTOWN, Conn., March 28 (UPI) -- Production of medium/heavy-lift military helicopters will continue its growth into this year and then decline, a U.S. study says.
The study was conducted by Forecast International, a market research and analysis company.
"Annual medium/heavy military rotorcraft production has grown steadily since 2005," it said. "The Forecast International study projects that this growth will continue into 2013, when production is forecast to reach 615 rotorcraft.
"Thereafter, however, the study projects that yearly production will enter into a period of gradual decline, falling to only 380 rotorcraft by the year 2022."
The study projected that 4,796 medium/heavy military rotorcraft (those weighing more than 15,000 pounds) would be produced by 2022.
Forecast International said the projected decline would be the result of the world "budgetary environment," and the need of governments to cutback spending.
The study noted that key military rotorcraft acquisition programs are well into their production runs and will soon run their course.
Other acquisition programs are being stretched out due to budget constraints and few major military procurement programs for helicopters are emerging.
"Order backlogs at manufacturers are declining," it said. "As the market shrinks, the competition among manufacturers for market share will become ever more fierce."