At Mentor Graphics’ Integrated Electrical Solutions Forum (IESF), Teal Group Vice President of Analysis Richard Aboulafia provided a snapshot of the military and aerospace (mil/aero) market in his a keynote presentation, “Back in Black: Aviation/Defense Industry Overview and Forecast.”
Aboulafia provided the following insights:
- New aircraft deliveries reached $170 billion in 2013.
- Large commercial jet airliners accounted for $94.4 billion last year.
- The aerospace market is in the black, after a lot of red ink in 2008-2012.
- Manufacturers are in “hyper growth mode.”
- The rotorcraft market segment, which includes helicopters and tiltrotors, is performing well.
- Rotorcraft manufacturers, such as Bell Helicopter, are focused heavily on exports.
- Commercial aircraft production, having increased by more than 10 percent annually over the past 10 years, is at a peak.
What are mil/aero companies currently doing right? “The real secret sauce is the connection between engineering and customers, learning what customers want and what they will pay for,” says Aboulafia, calling the practice “good management.”
The commercial aerospace market, including both commercial aviation and commercial space, is taking off; at the same time, the military aircraft market is eroding, Aboulafia explained. “The sky is not falling, but it is eroding,” he said, adding that tightened budgets and politics are contributors.
Myriad technology firms are smartly following the money. “They cannot ignore the impressive growth” in commercial aviation and commercial space, Aboulafia affirms, and are shifting focus to serve the entire burgeoning international aerospace market.
Aboulafia reminded this geek that the military isn’t getting the same bang for its buck. In the Reagan era the military could purchase several jet fighters for the cost of one F-35 today.