F-35 Lightning II to Dominate Fighter Market

NEWTOWN, Conn., July 12, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FARNBOROUGH INTERNATIONAL AIR SHOW ― In its new study "The Market for Fighter Aircraft," Forecast International projects that a total of 2,855 fighter aircraft will be produced from 2016 through 2025. The value of this production is estimated at $176.8 billion (in FY16 U.S. dollars).

The total number of fighters to be produced over the next decade is very close to the number of aircraft produced during the last 10 years, when production in the fighter market averaged about 280 aircraft per year.

Production during the 2016-2025 forecast period will peak at 330 aircraft in 2018. Annual production will then decline slightly through 2022, falling to 250 aircraft that year. It will then begin climbing in 2023, reaching 264 aircraft in 2025, well below the 2018 high.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 will be the largest fighter program over the next decade, due primarily to its selection as the tactical fighter of choice for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Indeed, of the 2,855 fighters expected to roll off the production lines during the next 10 years, nearly 1,210 will be F-35s, representing 42 percent of the market.

"The success of the stealthy fighter on the export market will depend heavily on its cost as well as on the capabilities it offers operators," Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Douglas Royce said. "Lockheed Martin believes it can reduce the cost of the aircraft to a point that would place it below the competing Eurofighter and Rafale but well above the latest generation of the Saab Gripen.  Reaching this goal is important if the aircraft is to achieve its full potential in the world fighter market."

The export market for legacy U.S. fighters – the Boeing F-15 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin's own F-16 – is fading. The U.S. government's allies are traditionally the best customers for U.S. fighters, and many of its allies in Europe and Asia are looking to buy F-35s.
The Middle East region remains the best market for U.S. legacy fighters because so many potential customers in the area will be effectively closed out of buying the F-35 for at least the next decade. "These nations continue to provide sales opportunities for Boeing and Lockheed Martin, but operators in the Middle East are also increasingly willing to order European aircraft instead," said Royce.

Relatively few nations can afford to buy new high-end fighters, and with so many manufacturers chasing a small number of potential customers, we expect the termination of at least one Western fighter production line in the near term.

Meanwhile, Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will continue to provide fighters to nations outside the U.S. and European defense spheres.  China is a potential competitor in this submarket, but has yet to fully develop a solid export program for its most advanced fighters.

Forecast International representatives will be available during the Farnborough International Airshow (Hall 1/C140) to demonstrate the company's extensive line of Aerospace & Defense Market Intelligence products, including the Platinum Forecast System® 2.0.

About Forecast International

Forecast International, Inc. is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics. The firm also maintains a high posture of situational awareness and geopolitical analysis. 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. Forecast International's resources and extensive base of experience can also be readily adapted and efficiently focused to fulfill a broad spectrum of civil and military consulting and special research requirements.

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