The special mission aircraft market is projected to grow with a CAGR of more than 2% during the forecast period.
- The increasing geopolitical tensions across the world is fueling the increase in military spending by major economies as well as emerging economies. This is expected to generate demand for special mission aircraft.
- The special mission aircraft are being deployed for a wide range of applications like electronic warfare, maritime patrol, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and search and rescue among others. As special mission aircraft act as low-cost substitutes compared to the major military aircraft programs, the investments in special mission aircraft are anticipated to increase in the coming years.
Key Market Trends
Growing Demand for Special Mission Aircraft for ISR Missions
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) segment of the market currently occupies a significant share of the total special mission aircraft market. This segment includes special mission aircraft used for ISR missions, maritime patrol, and airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) applications. Due to escalating tensions between various countries as well as other factors like drug trafficking and high-seas piracy are expected to strengthen the demand for the segment in the coming years. In April 2019, Canada signed an agreement with the US government worth USD 142.4 million to provide three new Beechcraft King Air 350ER twin-turboprop aircraft for performing ISR missions. The country is expected to receive the aircraft by 2022. Similar trends in the procurement of advanced aircraft are anticipated to bolster the segment’s growth during the forecast period.
Asia-Pacific is Expected to Grow with the Highest CAGR During the Forecast Period
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period. This is mainly due to geopolitical issues and border tensions in the region. Due to the growing dominance of China, countries like India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and Indonesia, among others are strengthening their aerial capabilities for carrying out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; search and rescue; and maritime patrol missions. The countries are currently focusing on developing capabilities for indigenously manufacturing special mission aircraft. For instance, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in February 2020 announced that the companies are working on various projects to develop and deliver special mission aircraft for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) and AEW applications for Indian Air Force. Such developments and acquisitions are anticipated to bolster the growth of the special mission aircraft market in this region.
The special mission aircraft market is slightly fragmented with many players in the market. Some of the players in the market are Northrop Grumman Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Textron Inc., Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and Bombardier Inc. In addition to the aircraft OEMs, there are companies, which will convert the commercial or general aviation aircraft into special mission aircraft, such as RUAG Holding Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., and Elbit Systems Ltd among others. The companies develop new special mission aircraft based on the requirements of the armed forces. For instance, Textron Aviation Inc. signed a deal with the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) for configuring the Cessna Citation Longitude for conducting flight validation and flight inspection operations. This aircraft is anticipated to be delivered by 2021. Such contracts from various government and armed forces are anticipated to support the growth of the companies.
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