Home Aerospace And Defense Military Aircraft Modernization And Retrofit Market Size & Share by 2032

Military Aircraft Modernization And Retrofit Market

Military Aircraft Modernization And Retrofit Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Aircraft Type (Fixed-Wing, Rotary-Wing), By System Type (Navigation Systems, Weapon Systems, Headup Displays, Optronic Equipment, Fire Control Radars, Defensive Systems, Others) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2024-2032

Report Code: SRAD55997DR
Study Period 2020-2032 CAGR 2.34%
Historical Period 2020-2022 Forecast Period 2024-2032
Base Year 2023 Base Year Market Size USD 49.43 billion
Forecast Year 2032 Forecast Year Market Size USD 60.32 billion
Largest Market Asia Pacific Fastest Growing Market North America
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Market Overview

The global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market size was valued at USD 49.43 billion in 2023. It is estimated to reach USD 60.32 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 2.34% during the forecast period (2024–2032). Aging fleets and the increasing cost of acquiring new aircraft drive demand for retrofitting and modernization services. Retrofitting allows militaries to extend the operational lifespan of existing aircraft, optimizing performance while reducing maintenance costs compared to procuring new platforms. This is expected to propel market growth.

Modernization and retrofit of military aircraft are essential for increasing the fleets' operational efficacy, lifespan, and capabilities. In order to stay relevant on the battlefield and confront new challenges, military aircraft must adapt to increasing threats and technological breakthroughs. Aircraft modernization entails updating numerous systems and parts to integrate the newest technology, boost efficiency, and increase service life. Avionics, sensors, propulsion, weaponry, and structural improvements are a few examples of potential modifications. Military aircraft can improve mission effectiveness, increase survivability, and improve situational awareness by incorporating state-of-the-art equipment and systems.

On the other hand, retrofitting aims to modernize older aircraft with enhanced capabilities and technologies to stay updated with changing operating requirements and threats. This could entail swapping outdated systems, subsystems, or components for more contemporary ones to improve aircraft longevity, maintainability, and performance while lowering lifecycle costs. The requirement to guarantee that military aircraft continue to be operationally relevant, dependable, and successful in a security environment that is changing quickly motivates both modernization and retrofitting activities. Military organizations can extend the service lives of their current aircraft fleets, increase their worth, and keep a competitive advantage in combat by funding modernization and retrofit programs.

Top 2 Key Highlights of Report

  • Fixed-wing dominates the aircraft type segment
  • Asia-Pacific is the highest shareholder in the global market

Market Dynamics

Market Drivers

Operational Requirements and Budget Constraints

Operational requirements and budget constraints are key drivers shaping the global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market. Military forces worldwide face evolving operational challenges, ranging from emerging threats to changing mission requirements. To address these challenges, they often seek to modernize and retrofit their existing aircraft fleets to enhance performance, maintain competitiveness, and extend service life. However, these efforts must be balanced against budget constraints, as defense budgets are often limited and subject to competing priorities.

Military organizations must carefully allocate resources to achieve modernization and retrofit objectives while ensuring cost-effectiveness and affordability. Despite budgetary limitations, the imperative to maintain operational readiness and technological superiority drives investment in modernization and retrofit programs. By upgrading existing aircraft with advanced technologies, improved systems, and enhanced capabilities, military forces can optimize their resources, improve mission effectiveness, and mitigate risks associated with aging fleets.

Market Restraint

Technological Constraints

Integrating sophisticated avionics and electronics systems into current aircraft platforms is one of the main technological problems facing the worldwide military aircraft modernization and retrofit business. Many military aircraft were created utilizing antiquated technology decades ago, making them incapable of supporting the complex systems needed for contemporary warfare. Several technical challenges exist when retrofitting vintage aircraft with modern avionics, sensors, communication systems, and weapons interfaces because it often necessitates major structural and software modifications.

Moreover, military organizations constantly have challenges keeping their aircraft up to date due to the quick speed of technological innovation in the defense industry. Integrating emerging technology, like directed energy weapons, autonomous systems, and artificial intelligence, is demanded in current aircraft platforms. However, doing so can be extremely costly and time-consuming, especially for older aircraft with little room for improvement. This is expected to hinder market growth.

Market Opportunities

Enhance Military Capabilities

There are many prospects for improving military capabilities across different countries in the global market by upgrading and retrofitting military aircraft. Upgrading current aircraft to accommodate changing mission requirements and technological improvements is one of the major prospects. Military forces can increase the operational lifespan of their aircraft while integrating cutting-edge avionics, sensors, and armament systems by updating their aged fleets. This enables them to keep a competitive advantage in a security environment that is becoming more dynamic and sophisticated. For example, in April 2024, through a series of exercises involving the U.S. military, African states, and international partners, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) is leading the way in developing military capabilities and promoting collaboration.

By addressing crucial security issues like crisis management, peacekeeping, counterterrorism, maritime security, and humanitarian aid, these strategic engagements show AFRICOM's dedication to international peace and security. There is also the export market, where nations with developed aerospace industries can provide upgrade packages and modernization services to allies looking to strengthen their armed forces. These nations may offer affordable solutions that are customized to their partners' unique requirements by utilizing economies of scale and well-established supply chains. This strengthens defense alliances and promotes cooperation in regional security.

Regional Analysis

Based on region, the global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. 

Asia-Pacific's military aircraft modernization and retrofit market share is expected to expand substantially during the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific region represents a significant market for military aircraft modernization and retrofit due to the increasing geopolitical tensions, evolving security threats, and the need for nations to maintain a credible defense posture. Several factors in this region drive the need for modernization and retrofit projects. First, to offset perceived threats and express their strategic interests, numerous Asia-Pacific nations are making significant investments in their defense capabilities. This entails modernizing their current military aircraft fleet to improve interoperability, operational effectiveness, and survivability against adversaries. For example, the Australian government announced in September 2023 that it would upgrade its current patrol and response aircraft and purchase a new drone as part of a 1.5 billion Australian dollar (USD 964.88 million) contract to improve its maritime surveillance capabilities. The Air Force's current 14 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft fleet will be upgraded, and the military will purchase a fourth MQ-4C Triton drone.

Furthermore, to maintain compatibility with changing operating requirements and future threats, modernization is necessary due to technical improvements in areas like sensor systems, avionics, communication networks, and weapons systems. For example, in June 2023, Canadian aviation technology company CAE announced that Japan's Mitsubishi Electric Corporation would receive its Magnetic Anomaly Detection – Extended Role (MAD-XR) system. The Japanese business will install the equipment on board the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's (JMSDF) P1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. According to CAE, the MAD-XR technology will assist the nation's anti-submarine warfare activities. Further, it may be incorporated into a range of human and unmanned vehicles to improve submarine detection performance in difficult-to-manage environments. The effectiveness of missions, situational awareness, and survival in hostile circumstances can all be enhanced by integrating these cutting-edge technologies.

Therefore, the Asia-Pacific region's geopolitical dynamics and tensions demand ongoing modernization efforts to handle threats that are always changing, like territorial disputes, difficulties with maritime security, and the spread of cutting-edge military capabilities. To preserve deterrence and strategic stability, governments consequently place a high priority on spending on military development.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By Aircraft Type
  1. Fixed-Wing
  2. Rotary-Wing
By System Type
  1. Navigation Systems
  2. Weapon Systems
  3. Headup Displays
  4. Optronic Equipment
  5. Fire Control Radars
  6. Defensive Systems
  7. Others
Company Profiles BAE Systems Elbit Systems Honeywell Israel Aerospace Industries L3Harris Technologies Leonardo Lockheed Martin
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market is bifurcated into aircraft type and system type.

Based on aircraft type, the global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market is segmented into fixed-wing and rotary-wing.

The fixed-wing segment dominates the global market. Market participants and military organizations might find substantial potential in the fixed-wing segment of the global military aircraft modernization and refit market. The need for modernization and upgrade options to increase the operational lifespan and capabilities of current platforms is growing due to the large number of aging aircraft fleets in service worldwide. Introducing cutting-edge sensor systems, communication technologies, and avionics into older airplanes is one of the main opportunities. Military operators can increase mission capability, situational awareness, and communication effectiveness by upgrading these aircraft with advanced equipment without having to make expensive new acquisitions. This will increase overall operational effectiveness.

Based on system type, the global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market is segmented into navigation systems, weapon systems, head-up displays, optronic equipment, fire control radars, defensive systems, and others.

In military aircraft modernization and retrofitting, navigation systems represent a critical field that is seeing substantial development and integration. It has become essential for improving the operating capabilities of military aircraft that navigation technology evolve from conventional systems to more complex and accurate solutions. Even in difficult situations like poor visibility or hostile airspace, aircraft may navigate more precisely and effectively by integrating advanced navigation systems. The GPS, a satellite-based navigation system that provides exact positioning and navigation data necessary for mission accomplishment, is now a common feature in modern military aircraft. However, as enemies improve their anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities, military aircraft must increasingly rely on alternate navigation systems that can withstand GPS jamming and electronic warfare.

Market Size By Aircraft Type

Recent Developments

  • March 2023 - The Air Force Armament and Airworthiness Directorate of the Italian Defence Ministry, Armaereo, and Leonardo S.p.A., inked a deal to modernize the C-27J Spartan fleet of the Italian Air Force. The contract covers upgrading the self-protection system, replacing the aircraft's general systems, developing, integrating, qualification, and certification of a new avionics configuration for the C-27J, as well as the flight simulator. It also covers retrofitting the remaining 11 aircraft and the delivery of the first aircraft in this configuration.
  • July 2022 - Britain revealed plans to upgrade the Eurofighter Typhoon combat jet for 2.35 billion pounds (USD 2.78 billion), including a new radar and improved electronic warfare capabilities. At the largest military airshow in the world, the Royal International Air Tattoo, Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said that the radar, known as ECRS Mk II, will be deployed by the end of the decade, starting on the third tranche of Typhoons.

Top Key Players

BAE Systems Elbit Systems Honeywell Israel Aerospace Industries L3Harris Technologies Leonardo Lockheed Martin Others

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the estimated growth rate (CAGR) of the Market?
The global military aircraft modernization and retrofit market is valued at USD 52.09 billion in 2024, growing at a CAGR of 2.34%.
Upgrading current aircraft with advanced avionics and electronics is a key challenge in military aircraft modernization.
Top 7 military aircraft modernization and retrofit market players are BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, Honeywell, Israel Aerospace Industries, L3Harris Technologies, Leonardo, Lockheed Martin.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
Operational requirements and budget constraints are key drivers shaping the worldwide industry.

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