Contact: Adam Feld, Airborne Retrofit & Modernization Analyst
Phone: (203) 426-0800
Fax: (203) 426-4262
Web site: www.forecast1.com
Forecast International, Inc.
22 Commerce Rd. Newtown, CT 06470 USA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fighter R&M Market Facing Conflicting Priorities
NEWTOWN, Conn. [March 25, 2009] — In its new analysis entitled “The Market for Fighter/Attack/Trainer Retrofit & Modernization,” Forecast International estimates that nearly $20 billion will be spent on military aircraft upgrades during the 2009-2018 period. The United States alone is expected to earmark $9.5 billion for fighter/attack/trainer retrofit & modernization (R&M) programs, with the rest of the world kicking in another $10.3 billion.
“Air forces have a need to update their existing fleets of fighter/attack/trainer aircraft to meet the challenges of 21st century warfare,” said Adam Feld, airborne R&M analyst and author of the report. “However, the economic turmoil spreading across the globe is having an effect on defense budgets, including upgrade funding.”
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have illustrated that the traditional roles of combat aircraft – to provide air superiority and destroy enemy surface assets – are of little help against an enemy with no air force, and that hides among a civilian population. To meet this new challenge, many Western nations, particularly the United States, are improving their fleet’s ground support role with improved sensors and precision ground attack capability. Yet these nations remain aware that conventional warfare is not dead but only dormant, and seek to maintain their fleets’ traditional capabilities as well.
Eastern nations are thus pressured to upgrade their own fleets to maintain parity. Both China and Russia are seeking to build their status as superpowers with modernized militaries, while tensions between India and Pakistan have led those nations – and their neighbors – to evaluate their true capabilities. India has launched a major modernization effort that it claims will suffer no cuts even in the face of a slowing global economy.
Yet not all nations are so enthusiastic. With an economic recession spreading worldwide, governments are feeling the pinch and are cautious about upgrade efforts. “Programs that are expensive in the short term but provide long-term savings – such as re-engining – are often put on the backburner pending more favorable economic conditions,” said Feld.
For example, the promising field of composite airframe structure upgrades has fallen into stasis and is unlikely to fully mature until funding becomes less tight, according to Feld. And as always, the specter of higher fuel prices remains, despite the dramatic dive over the last few months.
Caught between changing needs and tight budgets, militaries will seek upgrades for their air fleets that grant the greatest capability without being prohibitively expensive – literally, the most bang for their buck.
Forecast International, Inc. (www.forecastinternational.com) 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. To arrange an interview with Forecast International’s editors, please contact Ray Peterson, Vice President, Research & Editorial Services (203)-426-0800, firstname.lastname@example.org.