The global military rotorcraft market is forecast to grow between 2012 and 2017 despite defence budget cuts, due to current military helicopters becoming obsolete or reaching the end of their operational life. Countries such as Russia, the US, Canada, France, Germany, France, China, and India are seeking to replace existing military rotorcraft with modern helicopters. In addition to modernizing existing fleets, countries are continuing to focus on acquiring new multi-role helicopters.
Low intensity conflicts and operations other than war have increased significantly, driving the demand for military helicopters. In both land and maritime environments, fast moving unconventional and irregular enemy forces pose intelligence problems. Helicopters are well suited for this role with accurate intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities. In addition, demand for helicopters able to rapidly reconfigure other roles such as medical evacuation and other humanitarian relief efforts is expected to increase over the forecast period.
Military helicopter manufacturers are understandably anxious, primarily due to the expected US$700 billion defence budget cuts between 2012 and 2023. Even though helicopters are expected to be the one of the least affected segments, the market sentiments are cautious with regards to future expenditure. Traditionally, North America and Europe accounted for 80% of global defence expenditure. However, the global economic downturn, US economic crisis, and European debt crisis are expected to negatively impact defence expenditure over the forecast period.
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