Oct. 25 (UPI) -- More than 1,600 light military helicopters will be built over the next 15-years by manufacturers worldwide for a value of about $22.2 billion, according to a market report.
Market intelligence and analysis firm Forecast International said Tuesday it came to the conclusion using data from its Platinum Forecast System 3.1.
Production of light military rotorcraft -- those weighing less than 15,000 pounds -- has been on the upswing since 2014, rising from the 160 units produced that year to 208 in 2016, the firm said. The upswing has continued in 2017, with 217 such aircraft expected to be built.
A decline in annual build rates is expected to set in soon, and will last until 2023, when production of 73 rotorcraft is forecast, the company said. But some minor growth and longer-term stability is expected, with production rising to 87 units in 2024. Production rates will then remain at between 75 and 87 units per year through at least 2030.
Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski expects near-term defense spending in the United States "will go mainly to readiness and RDT&E accounts, rather than to procurement."
"The effects of increased defense spending on rotorcraft acquisition will be more apparent outside the U.S., where some countries could accelerate certain fleet modernization plans," Jaworowski said. "While North America and Europe are currently the two largest regional markets for light military rotorcraft, Asia will grow in importance as a regional market over the next 15 years. Manufacturers will also be able to find sales opportunities in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East."
Airbus Helicopters is projected in the report to lead the light military rotorcraft market in unit production, producing 420 units for a 26.1 percent market share from 2017-2031. China's Avicopter is expected to take the second place with production of 301 units for an 18.7 percent share.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd of India will produce 257 units, a 16 percent share, while Bell Helicopter is projected to be fourth, with production of 225 units for a 14 percent share.