Global Military Aircraft Engine Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market, Forecast to 2025
The North American engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market is the largest individual market, but will experience modest growth. Meanwhile, Fighter aircraft market will experience the most significant aircraft segment growth. New deliveries of airframes are slow, except in Russia and China, which are not included. Additionally, initial aircraft costs have driven less than one for one replacements. Commercial firms are slowly growing their market shares, but governments are reluctant to lose the element of control. The engine manufacturers have always had a role in MRO, but they have increased their role in recent years. These manufacturers now recognize that MRO can be a lifeline when engine sales are slow. The effects of world tensions have a delayed response in the MRO market, but the increased interest in new capabilities will eventually have a positive effect on MRO spending.
Individual components are becoming more expensive as the materials used in their construction are becoming more lightweight and durable. The control and sensing systems in many newer components are much more complex than traditional parts, driving up the cost per component. However, the newer components tend to have a lesser number of manhours required for repairs and overhauls. At this point, Asian purchases, other than in China, are still limited. However, other Asian countries are engaged in territorial issues, primarily with China. Interest in new aircraft to counter the Chinese expansion has been expressed by virtually all of the surrounding countries. Some will take deliveries of new aircraft in the later forecast years. The demand in Asia will be greatest for fighter aircraft.
As new aircraft are introduced, they are replacing a greater number of existing aircraft. Fleet sizes have been shrinking for many years, resulting in fewer MRO events. Many new components have fewer overhaul requirements and longer mean-times between overhaul. Some components no longer have defined inspection and overhaul cycles. They are removed “on-condition” only. Health management systems on the aircraft, and often on the component, provide enough information to make on-condition maintenance a practical solution. Often, the on-board testing will identify negative trends and allow component replacement before failure, thereby reducing the repair cost.
Revenue growth will be inconsistent. The inconsistency will be caused by new model introductions and the retirement of older aircraft. Revenue growth will flatten out in 2023/2024, but will then resume modest growth. Programmed retirements have been slower than planned, resulting in minimal additional spending to support those aircraft. The most consistent revenue growth will be in trainers due to the limited acquisition plans and significant retirement plans. Many new aircraft are being sold, or at least offered, with long-term support. In some regions, this new support trend requires governmental policy changes in order to buy aircraft in that way. Interim support is a political subject that requires resolution. Initial interim support is needed, but when should the connection to the aircraft OEM become minimized?
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