The North America Helicopters Market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period.
- While the demand for commercial helicopters in the region is driven by the usage of helicopters for professional and leisure activities, the demand for military helicopters is driven by the ongoing fleet modernization programs undertaken by the regional armed forces.
- The helicopter OEMs are focused on the development of new-generation helicopters with superior flight capabilities than their predecessors. Advancements in new composite technologies, as well as helicopter health, usage & monitoring systems (HUMS), will enable enhanced operational predictability, to hone down unscheduled maintenance events, and provide complete prognostics to optimize scheduled maintenance resulting in increased mission readiness and lower maintenance costs.
- However, safety incidents such as helicopter crashes, raise significant reliability concerns, and may impede the growth of the market in the region.
Key Market Trends
Military End-user Segment to Dominate the Market in Terms of Revenue
Though the commercial deliveries are projected to be higher in the upcoming period, the military segment would constitute a larger share in terms of revenue due to the sophistication of the systems installed onboard a military helicopter. In the US, the military helicopter industry has matured to a point wherein they constitute the aerial vehicle component of the defense forces for tactical troop lift, logistics transport, battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance, attack, and combat aircrew recovery. The helicopter has become a key enabler in modern crisis management operations, especially when countering an asymmetric enemy. Despite having significant numbers of rotary-wing aircraft, military operations have been short of vital helicopter support. Currently, the US Army is validating the designs for the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program to replace the army’s AH-65 Apache and OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters. In March 2020, the US Army selected Bell and Sikorsky to build the prototype for the program, which is aimed to fill a capability gap and provide an aircraft capable of operating in complex environments and areas with degraded communications and networks, or areas protected with advanced air-defense systems. The Canadian Air Force is also envisioning to refurbish its fleet of 85 Bell CH-146 Griffon utility helicopters to extend the helicopter’s lifespan until 2031. Such developments are anticipated to foster the growth of the market with several units being inducted during the forecast period.
The US to Dominate the Market During the Forecast Period
Helicopters are extensively used in the US both in the commercial and defense sectors. Helicopters are being used for transporting personnel to offshore oil and gas production facilities, in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), VIP transport, law enforcement, and public safety domains. The increasing number of leasing companies and leasing options across the industry is expected to offer new potentials for the regional operators to expand their fleet of commercial helicopters. For instance, in January 2020, Rainier Heli International signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Kopter North America (Kopter) for procuring ten units of SH09 helicopters. The US also houses some of the leading global helicopter manufacturers, such as Bell. Furthermore, the country also supplies military helicopters such as the Apache to other countries under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. On this note, in February 2020, the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) inked two agreements for the procurement of six units of Apache AH-64E helicopters worth around USD 3 billion. Such developments are envisioned to drive the business prospects of the helicopter OEMs based in the US.
The North America helicopters market is consolidated in nature, with helicopter OEMs such as Airbus SE, Textron Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Leonardo S.p.A., and The Boeing Company dominating the market. In 2019, Airbus Helicopters North America, a division of Airbus Helicopters, received 66 gross orders from the US and Canada and completed 61 deliveries in the region. The company currently holds around 64% of the regional market share. To date, Airbus Helicopters North America delivered more than 454 UH-72A helicopters out of its production facility in Columbus to train the pilots of the US defense forces. The key market players have invested significantly in R&D activities for the development of new-age rotorcraft using composite materials and advanced avionics. Manufacturers worldwide are integrating advanced features onboard their helicopter offerings, such as Full-Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), responsive avionics suite, and updated satellite navigation systems for all-weather operations.
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