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Accelerated Fleet Recapitalization to be Expected
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The combat aircraft market will increase significantly over the next 10 years, driven predominantly by the general strategic uncertainty in some regions of the world and the need to replace aging fleets with modern 4th /5th generation multirole fighters. The F-35 will be the dominant platform for the next 20 years with nearly 3,000 aircraft to be delivered to address the requirements of the United States, international partners, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. There are also several 5th generation aircraft that are in development that will eventually compete in international programs in the late 2020s. Planned and perceived opportunities in the combat aircraft market will be over $262 Billion during the forecast period. Tensions and conflicts in the Middle East, nuclear crisis in the Korean Peninsula, Chinese military power projection in the Asia Pacific region, and Russia’s aggressive patrolling in the Baltic and Arctic regions will be some of the primary drivers for combat aircraft procurement and modernization programs. In the Middle East, the Shia-Sunni cold war will continue to be the main driver of combat inventory modernization where the requirements will be longer ferry range, higher payload capacity, and better survivability against integrated air defense networks. The growing Chinese military power projection capability will continue to push countries like India, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and few Southeast Asian countries to improve their combat fleet strength and capability. India will continue to be a big market even beyond the forecast period. NATO defense expenditure stipulations will push up military spending among member states and other allies.Geopolitics aside, the combat fleet in many countries such as India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are reaching obsolescence fast and replacements have to be procured to ensure that power projection capabilities of these countries are maintained. There is a renewed emphasis on stealth, sensor fusion, manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capability, and active protection system upgrades. Companies should be cognizant of planned and forecast programs, which will be initiated by air forces/ MoDs worldwide, and also the products they prefer to be ahead of the competition. The competition for combat aircraft today generally comes down to seven competitors, with the procurement decision influenced by geopolitical circumstances, performance requirements, and affordability. Given the significant costs associated with procuring new combat aircraft, several nations have decided to either pursue modernization or go for second-hand purchases (case in point are Romania’s F-16 purchase, and Colombia’s procurement of the Kfir C10/12).New 5th generation fighters such as Russia’s Su-57 and China’s J-20 will enter the market in the short term. Nations with high defense budgets and which have a more liberal outlook towards procurement may consider these aircraft. New-generation aircraft developments are being planned by the United Kingdom (Tempest), Germany and France, and Japan. Other indigenous programs such as the KAI-FX and T-FX programs of South Korea and Turkey, respectively, are currently underway and these aircraft will enter the market in the medium term and could challenge established players.Poorer nations that cannot afford modern Western multirole aircraft are procuring Chinese alternatives like the JF-17. China, through a combination of low cost platforms, aggressive marketing, and flexible payment mechanisms, is consolidating in markets such as Africa and Central & South America.New combat aircraft procurement programs are expected in India, Argentina, Sri Lanka, Austria, Finland, UAE, and Malaysia during the forecast period. There will be a diverse mix of markets which are price-sensitive, technology intensive, and highly requirement specific about solution purchases. Hence a country-level analysis of these factors is necessary to make optimum market decisions.Through this research service, Frost & Sullivan provides an assessment of the global combat aircraft market, opportunities, forecasts, and technology trends through a macro level and also a comprehensive micro level country-wise assessment.Author: Arjun Sreekumar
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