Global combat aircraft market overview for next 10 years

Global combat aircraft market overview
Some types of combat aircraft offered in air force modernization programs globally.

The fighter aircraft market will increase significantly over the next 10 years (to 2030), driven largely by the need for many nations to replace old fleets or maintain their air supremacy.

The F-35 will be the dominant platform for the next 20 years with approximately 3,000 aircraft ordered from the United States and international partners. There are also other fifth and sixth generation aircraft under development that may soon compete in international programs, such as the Russian Su-57 Felon, the Chinese J-20 Black Eagle, the South Korean KAI KF-X and the European Tempest and FCAS.

The fighter aircraft business is expected to exceed $ 250 billion during that period. The tensions and conflicts in the Middle East, the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the projection of Chinese military power in the Asia Pacific region and Russia's aggressive patrolling in the Baltic and Arctic regions will be some of the main drivers for combat aircraft procurement. In the Middle East, the Shia-Sunni cold war will continue to be the main reason for the modernization of air fleets, where the main requirements will be greater weapon carrying capacity and better survival and defense against enemy fire.

The growing projection capacity of Chinese military power will continue to push countries like India, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore to improve the capabilities of their combat fleet. Furthermore, the growing budget made available for NATO defense will increase the military spending of member and allied states.

The fighter aircraft market today is generally dominated by few companies and the choice of platform is influenced by geopolitical circumstances, performance and price. Some nations have decided to introduce second-hand aircraft due to low budgets such as Romania which bought former Portuguese F-16s.

Nations with high defense budgets can look to fourth plus or fifth generation aircraft (Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen, Super Hornet, F-16, F-35), while poorer ones, which cannot afford modern Western multi-role aircraft, are purchasing Chinese alternatives such as the JF-17 or light attack aircraft.

Currently, new combat aircraft purchase programs are underway in India, Argentina, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Austria, Finland, UAE, and Malaysia. The market for these countries is diversified based on price and high technology. The LatAm and African air forces, for example, are more sensitive to the economic factor, while India and the Emirates aim for air supremacy.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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