In a new study, “The Market for Light Military Rotorcraft,” Forecast International projects that 1,877 such rotorcraft will be built between 2011 and 2020. The value of this production is estimated at $24 billion in constant 2011 U.S. dollars. The study defines a medium/heavy rotorcraft as one having a gross weight of at least 6,804 kilograms (15,000 lb.).

According to Forecast International, light military rotorcraft production will increase through 2012, representing a continuation of the market’s growth track of recent years. After 2012, however, Forecast International expects that yearly production in the segment will enter a period of gradual, though erratic, decline through the 2018/2019 timeframe.

The company’s projections indicate that production will total 193 units in 2011 and 215 units in 2012, decline to 186 units in 2013, increase to 204 units by 2015, and then decline to just over 165 units in each of 2018 and 2019. Production in 2020 is projected at 185 units.

“Current military helicopter acquisitions are running their course, and very few major procurements of light military helicopters have emerged that could help grow, or even maintain, production levels in the market,” said Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski.

The market momentum of recent years will not be sustained. The U.S. accounts for a large portion of demand in the market, and the present modernization cycle in U.S. military rotorcraft procurement is nearing an end. Meanwhile, defense spending is under intense pressure in the U.S. and many other countries that have contributed to much of the recent demand in the market.

The new Forecast International study includes projections of manufacturer market shares. These indicate that Eurocopter will be the leading manufacturer of light military rotorcraft during the 2011-2020 time period. AgustaWestland is projected to be second in unit production during this timeframe, followed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bell Helicopter. Each of these companies has a robust presence in the market but, as detailed in the study, pursue widely diverging strategies to protect and enhance their market share.

Forecast International, Inc. is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics. Based in Newtown, Conn., USA, Forecast International specializes in long-range industry forecasts and market assessments used by strategic planners, marketing professionals, military organizations, and governments worldwide.