The global military aircraft avionics market size was valued at USD 34.96 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 51.15 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 4.32% during the forecast period (2023–2031). Several nations are upgrading their existing military aircraft with new avionics suites or replacing their aging fleet with newer-generation aircraft that feature various cutting-edge avionic systems. With the growth in defense spending by several nations worldwide, the industry has witnessed several procurement and development activities for military aircraft in the last few years.
Military aircraft avionics are operational and combat-ready variants concentrating on military aircraft's electronic systems and equipment. They include flight control, navigation functions, electro-optical and infrared threat sensors, activity monitors, countermeasures dispensers, secure tactical communications, weapons trackers, and other electronic support, protection, and attack capabilities. They are made of special materials or enclosed in containers more resistant to enemies than commercially available equipment so that they can withstand damage from harsh environments.
Military aircraft assist in completing missions, monitoring and reporting performance metrics, making discoveries, operating within safety parameters, and enhancing aircraft performance overall. They aid in the replacement of conventional military aircraft radio communication with high-frequency (HF), very high frequency (VHF), and ultra-high frequency (UHF) systems. They are utilized for engine control, surveillance, geospatial intelligence, electronic warfare, and energy and power management.
|Market Size||USD 51.15 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Asia Pacific|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
The structure of international security systems has been undermined by growing hegemonism, unilateralism, and power politics, which have fueled ongoing global conflicts due to profound changes in the international strategic landscape. The main causes of the geopolitical landscape's instability are disputed territorial rights, political tensions, and military superpowers' competition for global dominance.
In this regard, the most common response of governments is to increase their military spending to enhance the security of their respective nations. In 2020 and 2021, despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global defense expenditures continued to rise. As per SIPRI, the global military expenditure in 2021 increased by 0.7% from 2020 to USD 2,113 billion. Global spending in 2021 was 12 percent higher than in 2012. Therefore, the growth in defense spending is currently the prime driver for the market's growth.
Most military aircraft fleet currently in the service is over 20 years old. The development of new and advanced avionics is generating the need to replace the old avionics systems existing in these aircraft. Therefore, to stay abreast of adversaries, allied military forces are devising modernization plans to upgrade the avionics suites in the military aircraft.
For instance, the US Air Force is extending the service life of about 300 F-16 aircraft to extend their operational life until 2048. The service life extension program (SLEP) extends about 300 F-16C/D Block 40-52 aircraft service life from 8,000 to 12,000 flight hours. It is expected that the aircraft will undergo major structural and avionics upgrades. Consequently, the growing importance of such upgrade programs to maintain the relevance of military aircraft capabilities is expected to drive the market's growth in the years to come.
Although the advancements in connectivity and computing have led to several innovations in avionics and computing systems that helped deliver substantial performance improvements, these solutions' increasing complexity and technological requirements come at a substantial cost to military planners and avionics manufacturers. Each new technology generation requires more bandwidth and connectivity resources and is more difficult to upgrade.
Furthermore, as new capabilities emerge, the integration of newer technologies into existing systems can be challenging, both in terms of technological compatibility and the interoperability of a wide range of technologies. The threat of cyber interference with military information systems is well-known and intuitively understood. As the demand for the latest systems that handle huge amounts of data increases, cybersecurity concerns also increase. All these factors restrain the market growth.
Several nations are developing and acquiring next-generation military aircraft to modernize and enlarge their fleets in light of the rising political tensions between nations and the conflicts that cross international borders. Major global powerhouses are realigning their military strategies to include cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information, cloud computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT), into aircraft to gain technological advantage over adversaries. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have a tremendous potential to revolutionize warfare and enable new warfare avenues. They will be an integral part of future military applications.
Additionally, the avionic systems that support the more recent military aircraft have undergone parallel innovations due to the dramatic advancements in connectivity and computing over the past two decades. This quick advancement makes flying safer and more efficient for pilots by enabling smooth aircraft communication and giving pilots situational awareness that was previously unattainable. Therefore, the shift in focus towards next-generation aircraft platforms and avionics systems is expected to create opportunities for the market's growth in the future.
Based on region, the global military aircraft avionics market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global military aircraft avionics market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.06% during the forecast period. North America dominates the military aircraft avionics market due to the United States' massive acquisition of military aircraft. The United States is the largest military spender in the world, with military expenditures of USD 801 billion in 2021. The US military is also modernizing its existing fleet with advanced avionics to support a variety of missions. For example, in February 2022, the USAF announced its plan to modernize 608 F-16 Block 40 and 50 aircraft in one of the largest modernization programs in history.
In recent years, Canada has focused on modernizing its military aircraft fleet and reducing its dependency on the US Air Force for certain aerial missions. The Canadian government announced its plan to increase its defense budget in 2022. Canada has fallen short of the alliance's goal for its members to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense over the past few years, with defense spending remaining around USD 22 billion. These investments by North American nations to improve their aerial capabilities are anticipated to drive market expansion.
Asia-Pacific is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.50% over the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific market is boosted by the presence of nations in the region, such as China and India, currently under geopolitical tensions. China hiked its defense budget by 7.1% to reach about CNY 1.45 trillion (about USD 229.5 billion). China is also constructing a new carrier-based fighter jet to replace its J-15 fighters, which have been involved in many accidents and mechanical breakdowns. China intends to establish at least four aircraft carrier groups to achieve its naval goals. India has tensions and strained relations with its neighboring countries, Pakistan and China, along its borders. This situation demands a persistent ISR capability along its land-based borders.
Additionally, The Indian MoD approved the procurement of 106 Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) aircraft from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in August 2020. The aircraft was planned to be acquired under the Make in India initiative as the government bans procuring 101 different weapons, systems, and ammunition over the next five years. Such robust procurement plans are anticipated to drive market growth during the forecast period.
In Europe, the increased military spending is propelling the procurement of new-generation aircraft that will enhance air capabilities and the region's military power. For instance, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense has declared that it plans to invest 238 billion euros (USD 270 billion) in military equipment and necessary support services from 2021 to 2031 under the new Defense Equipment Plan. Likewise, the upgradation of the existing fleet with the addition of the latest advanced aircraft is further expected to expedite the market growth during the forecast period.
For instance, as part of a significant upgrade to the armed forces in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Germany planned to purchase up to 35 US-made F-35 fighter jets and up to 15 Eurofighter jets in March 2022. The F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin would replace Germany's decades-old Tornado fleet. Lockheed's F-35 stealth jets are deemed the most highly modern combat aircraft in the world, and their distinctive shape and coating make them tougher to detect by enemy radar.
Brazil is the leading revenue contributor in the Latin America region. The Brazilian defense, security, and aviation industries remain most important in the Southern Hemisphere. As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Brazil's military expenditure was USD 19.18 billion in 2021. As per the plans and development in the military aircraft sector, the Brazilian government is funding the modernization of its current aircraft fleet. For instance, in April 2022, the Brazilian Navy takes delivery of its last A-4 Skyhawk, modernized by Embraer. The Brazilian Navy's modernized aircraft got new power generation, navigation, weapons, tactical communication, computers, sensor systems, state-of-the-art multi-mode radar, and the latest operating system. It is collaborating with developed nations to upgrade its defense technology, which is expected to drive the demand for advanced military avionics systems.
The global military aircraft avionics market is segmented by subsystem and aircraft type.
Based on the subsystem, the global military aircraft avionics market is segmented into flight control systems, communication systems, navigation systems, monitoring systems, and other subsystems.
The flight control system segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 4.91% during the forecast period. The flight control systems (FCS) of military aircraft include various hardware and software systems for primary and secondary cockpit flight controls such as autopilot, data acquisition systems, flight recorders, aircraft management computers, active inceptor systems, and Electrohydrostatic Actuation (EHA) systems, among others. All military aircraft flight control systems are currently developed based on the Fly-by-Wire (FBW) technology.
In addition, the new generation of aircraft, which will enter service in the coming years, will feature advanced flight control systems developed and integrated by the aircraft OEMs in collaboration with avionics manufacturers. For instance, in June 2019, Airbus Defense and Space partnered with Ansys to develop a new flight control solution with sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The aircraft OEM plans to introduce autonomous flight capabilities onboard the aircraft by 2030.
The monitoring system segment includes cockpit indicators and gauges, cockpit switch panels, cockpit display panels (CRT and LCT technology displays), touch screen, head-up displays, CPDLC display, ACARS interface, glass cockpit, enhanced vision systems, communications display, and airborne radar displays. The air forces are undertaking various initiatives to replace the aging aircraft's existing visual and display systems with new digital displays. For instance, as a part of the C-130H Avionics Modernization Program Increment 2 (AMP INC 2) program of the US Air Force, in August 2019, L3Harris Technologies selected Collins Aerospace to provide Flight2 integration avionics system in the fleet of 176 C-130H aircraft. According to the contract, Flight2 Avionics of the company will replace more than 100 analog instruments in the cockpit with a new digital autopilot, three control display units (CDU), and seven multifunctional displays (MFD).
Based on aircraft type, the global military aircraft avionics market is segmented into fixed-wing combat aircraft, fixed-wing non-combat aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The helicopter segment is the largest revenue contributor to the market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 3.97% over the forecast period. The helicopter segment includes attack/combat helicopters and other helicopters such as transport, utility, training, observation, search, rescue, and maritime helicopters. The countries are also robustly investing in the modernization of their existing fleet of helicopters through the upgradation of helicopters. The Spanish Army received Boeing's first CH-47F Chinook helicopter in February 2022. The helicopter was the first of 17 helicopters under order to upgrade the existing CH-47D-model aircraft to the newer CH-47F model. The CH-47F helicopters feature a common avionics architecture system and a digital automatic flight control system.
The avionics embedded in the UAVs were adapted from the standard aviation avionics, and most of the UAV avionics architecture is similar to the aircraft avionics. Avionics onboard UAVs include autopilot systems, communication and data transmission systems, and observation and surveillance systems. The avionic systems like armament control, navigation, and power supply are very similar to their manned aircraft counterparts. MQ-9A Reaper is integrated with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple-redundant avionics system architecture. For navigation, the UAV features H-764 Adaptive Configurable Embedded INS/GPS systems that provide precise and inertial position data for navigation, targeting, and attitude reference.