The Asia-Pacific heavy-lift helicopter market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 3% during the forecast period.
- Heavy-lift helicopters have been witnessing high demand from the military sector, due to the inherent advantages offered by such helicopters in the transportation of troops, equipment, cargo, and other equipment, such as armored vehicles, which cannot be otherwise lifted and transported to the battlefield by other regular means because of their high weight, inaccessibility, and long-distance transport requirements.
- The demand for these helicopters for offshore applications is one of the main growth drivers bolstering the growth of the commercial segment of the market.
Key Market Trends
Military Segment is Expected to Dominate the Market During the Forecast Period
As of 2019, the military segment held a major share in the Asia-Pacific heavy-lift helicopter market. The region is marred by rugged terrains and poor road connectivity, which escalates the problems of timely transportation of essential equipment from one military base to the other. In most regions, fixed-wing aircraft cannot be used effectively for the transportation of troops and supplies. Hence, heavy-lift helicopters, with their VTOL capabilities and the ability to land on a short runway or rugged terrain with the utmost ease, are generally considered a viable option.
Most of the nations in Asia-Pacific are investing significantly in the procurement of heavy-lift helicopters, thus, driving the growth prospects of the market. For instance, countries, like India, with mountainous borders in its northern part, are eyeing to enhance the fleet of heavy-lift helicopters to supply essentials to the troops stationed at remote locations. In July 2018, India signed a USD 3 billion military contract with the United States, which included the purchase of 15 Boeing Chinook CH-47F(I) heavy-lift helicopters, with deliveries starting in 2019. Such developments would provide immense flexibility to the Indian Air Force for a variety of tasks. Such helicopters can also be used to provide a boost to the infrastructure and border road projects that were long overdue.
China was the Largest Market for Heavy-lift Helicopters in Asia-Pacific in 2019
China has the largest military helicopter fleet in Asia-Pacific. The need for transporting troops and equipment to the vast border of the country and the diverse and rugged landscape surrounding the country are the main reasons for the increased demand for the heavy-lift helicopters in the country. However, the takeoff weight of China’s domestically developed helicopters are usually below 10 metric ton, and heavy-lift helicopters with above 20 metric ton takeoff weight are still in the blank. To fill this service gap and improve the capabilities of heavy-lift helicopters, in March 2019, China signed an agreement with Rostec State Corporation to jointly develop heavy-lift helicopters. According to Rostec, a minimum of 200 units of advanced heavy-lift (AHL) helicopters are to be manufactured in China using components sourced from Russia. An AHL helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of 38.2 metric ton, a weigh-lift capability of almost 15 metric ton, a flight range of 800 km, and a maximum speed of 300 kmph. The delivery of the helicopters is scheduled to be completed by 2032. The procurement of new heavy-lift helicopters is also envisioned to play a great role in natural disaster relief or special military operations, and this may drive the growth of the heavy-lift helicopter market in China.
Helicopter manufacturers, such as The Boeing Company, Airbus SE, Russian Helicopters, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Textron Inc., are the prominent players in the market. The market is highly consolidated, with around six players occupying more than 80% of the total market share. Companies, like Boeing, Russian Helicopters, and Lockheed Martin Corporation, are trying to increase their market presence in the region by addressing the heavy-lift helicopter needs of the various militaries in the region. Major heavy-lift helicopter OEMs are developing new models, like Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion, which is currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft. The helicopter features new composite rotor blades and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants and can attain an extra speed of 37 kmph compared to its CH-53E predecessor. The initial deliveries of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion are scheduled in 2020, and owing to the company’s strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region, it is expected that many countries in the region may be placing new procurement orders for similar heavy-lift helicopters during the forecast period.
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