Rolls-Royce forecasts turbine helicopter boom

March 15, 2011 at 7:19 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., March 15 (UPI) -- Rolls-Royce said Tuesday it is expecting an upsurge in orders and deliveries for new turbine helicopters in the coming decade, with likely deliveries in excess of 16,900 during the period.

The company said an improved economic climate, as well as new technologies, would contribute to the rise in orders for the helicopter, which responds to the military's requirements for enhanced vertical lift capability.

Rolls-Royce said the need to replace retired and aging helicopters will combine with new technology offerings to enhance civil and military market demand.

Unlike a lot of other military equipment, helicopters that can take off quickly and vertically have an inherent appeal for procurement agencies concerned with continuing refurbishment of military equipment for ongoing military operations.

Patricia O'Connell, Rolls-Royce president for Customer Business Defense in North America, said the market had not recovered as quickly as the industry wanted but there was reason for optimism.

"While the market has not returned as quickly as the industry desired, basic indicators, such as emerging market demand and access to favorable financing terms, are beginning to support a positive environment for civil rotorcraft.

"Likewise," O'Connell said, "defense rotorcraft requirements, particularly for humanitarian and theater transport, continue with increased importance on hot and high operations."

Rolls-Royce said it projected deliveries of more than 16,900 new turbine helicopters valued at $140 billion during the 2011-20 period. The helicopters will require approximately 27,000 new turbine engines valued at more than $12 billion.

The civilian market will experience modest unit growth, especially in new entry-level turbine helicopters, said the company, the world's leading producer of light turbine engines in the helicopter market.

Rolls-Royce forecasts around 10,900 civil helicopters to be delivered during the 10-year period, with an overall airframe value estimated at $34 billion and associated engine value of $4.6 billion.

It said that military original equipment manufacturer deliveries are predicted to total approximately 6,070 new military helicopters during the 10-year period, with an airframe value of approximately $106 billion and an associated installed engine value of around $7.8 billion.

Rolls-Royce is the world's provider of power systems and services for use on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a strong position in global markets -- civil aerospace, defense aerospace, marine and energy.

Rolls-Royce sells to more than 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility aircraft and helicopter operators, 160 armed forces, more than 2,500 marine customers, including 70 navies, and energy customers in nearly 120 countries, with an installed base of 54,000 gas turbines.

In 2010, Rolls-Royce invested $1.5 billion on research and development, two-thirds of which had the aim of further improving the environmental performance of its products, in particular reducing emissions.

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