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Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market

Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market: Information by MRO Type (Engine MRO, Airframe MRO), Aircraft Type (Fixed-wing Aircraft), and Region — Forecast till 2031

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Market Snapshot

market snapshot
Base Year:
Study Period:
2.2 %
Fastest Growing Market:
Asia Pacific
Largest Market:
North America

The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, And Overhaul were valued at USD 39.34 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 47.85 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 2.2% during the forecast period (2023–2031). Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft refer to any actions taken to keep an aircraft and its components safe for flight. Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) service providers carry out tasks like inspection, replacement, defect correction, and the actualization of modifications by airworthiness directives. Military MRO is vital for retaining a solid and operational military force. Military planes are more complicated than commercial planes because they have more technical equipment and require higher expertise for MRO services.

The MRO market is constantly changing and expanding due to the dynamic nature of the security environment and the continuous upgrade and acquisition of military aircraft of a newer generation. Since the reliability of older aircraft declines, frequent maintenance inspections are necessary. Furthermore, the necessary upgrade extends the service life of an aging aircraft. As military aircraft become more complex, MRO plays an increasingly important role in these aircraft operational readiness and maintenance.

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Market Dynamics

Global Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market Drivers

Growing Demand for Stealth Aircraft

In recent decades, the world has increased its investment in stealth technology to delay the enemy from spotting military airborne platforms. The cost of creating a stealthy design includes the following aerodynamic and other design compromises, lengthy development periods, higher costs, and the requirement for routine special maintenance. Some examples of stealth aircraft are the F-22, F-35 Lightning II, Chengdu J-20, Sukhoi Su-57, and Sukhoi Checkmate (Su-75). For instance, the "stealth" coating on the F-35 requires the most maintenance because it needs to be reapplied after each flight. The Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland estimates that the F-35 fighters need between 41.75 and 50.1 maintenance man-hours per flight hour or roughly three times as many as the majority of fighters currently in use by Western air forces. The evasive maneuvers and sustained high-speed flight during actual combat will require more upkeep.

Additionally, new technologies in these aircraft are highly classified, necessitating specialized maintenance teams that have undergone manufacturer training, raising the overall costs of operation and maintenance of such aircraft. France is also developing an advanced Rafale fighter aircraft with enhanced stealth, robust electronic warfare systems, and new weapons. Thus, as several countries continue to procure stealth fighter jets, it will propel the growth of the military aviation MRO market during the forecast period.

Aircraft Upgrade and Life Extension Projects

Military planes tend to last longer than commercial planes. They are often used for more than 3–4 decades, and a few aircraft programs have been running for almost 50 years. A significant amount of the defense expenditures of the global nations go toward aircraft maintenance. With the need to enhance aerial warfare and support capabilities, several countries are embarking on maintaining large aircraft fleets that include a mix of older and newer fighter aircraft.

Armed forces frequently spend enormous sums of money implementing life extension programs to maintain airworthiness and upgrade aging aircraft. For instance, the US Air Force is currently working on the service life extension of its F-16 fleet to increase its lifespan until 2048. Likewise, Turkey, which has the third largest fleet of F-16 aircraft, has also initiated the service-life extension program for its F-16 fleet, which has been in service for almost three decades. Such developments and plans for service life extension will support the growth of the military aviation MRO market during the forecast period and beyond.

Global Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market Restraint

Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a smaller impact on military aviation MRO than on civil aviation. Few countries faced economic pressure, which resulted in a lower fund allocation for upgrades and heavy maintenance. Relations between the United States and China suffered as a result of the beginning of the pandemic. In addition, the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement 252 (DFARS), which was put in place by the US Department of Defense, stated that tantalum metal or alloys from China could not be used in military projects. This might disrupt the supply chain as China is the major tantalum supplier, which might delay the supply of parts and components, thus hampering the market's growth.

Global Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market Opportunities

Growing Partnerships with Global Players to build Local MRO

The maintenance, repair, and overhaul of the military aircraft fleet is a significant annual expense in the defense budgets of all major nations. A nation's economy benefits from MRO capabilities because money can be spent on regional businesses. Countries will require less technical assistance from other nations as a result of improving their MRO capabilities. This local MRO capability is essential when geopolitical relations are shifting. Several countries in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa regions are developing their local MRO capabilities to reduce their dependency on other countries and their overall maintenance expenditure. These countries are also working with aircraft manufacturers to help them set up MRO capabilities in their own countries.

For instance, in February 2021, Boeing and aviation services provider Air Works signed a strategic partnership to maintain, repair, and overhaul (MRO) the fleet of VIP transport aircraft used by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The two companies' collaboration also includes MRO support for the Poseidon 8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, a Boeing defense platform operated by the Indian Navy. With the set-up of these new military aircraft MRO facilities, the countries will also aim to improve repair and overhaul turnaround times and generate new employment opportunities. Thus, such developments will further propel the growth of the military aviation MRO market over the next decade.

Segmental Analysis

The global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market is segmented by MRO type and aircraft type.

On the Basis of MRO Type

By MRO type, the global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market is divided into engine MRO, component and modifications MRO, airframe MRO, and field maintenance.

The engine MRO segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 2.99% over the forecast period. Engine manufacturers are expanding into new potential markets to attract customers and increase their global market share. For instance, in February 2021, Rolls-Royce and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) agreed to expand their partnership in India for collaboration. They collaborated in two significant areas: expanding the supply chain for civil and defense aerospace and establishing an authorized maintenance center for Adour Mk871 engines to support Rolls-Royce's global customers. A growing emphasis on improving military aircraft mission readiness is also expected over the next ten years, as is fuel demand for engine MRO. Such developments and long-term commitments will support the growth of this segment during the forecast period.

Significant growth is anticipated in the aerospace and defense MRO's component and modification segment over the forecast period. The components and modifications of MRO include the MRO of various components of the military aircraft, like actuators, bearings, valves, wheels and brakes, propellers, helicopter blades, weapon pads, and fuel tanks as interior modifications. It also includes conversion programs. Upgrades and modifications to significant parts like avionics and landing gear are also included in this segment. The key factors driving this segment are rapid aircraft fleet expansions, strategic collaborations between component OEM and MRO companies to develop new components, and the outsourcing of aftermarket components for aircraft activities.

On the Basis of Aircraft Type

By aircraft type, the global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market is divided into fixed-wing segment and rotorcraft.

The fixed-wing segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 3.23% over the forecast period. Fixed-wing aircraft are essential to the military's special operations and combat missions. Proper maintenance is always needed to make the plane last longer, and upgrades are needed after a certain number of years of use. Military organizations emphasize operating their fixed-wing aircraft fleet for more extended periods by carrying out the necessary life extension upgrades because new fixed-wing aircraft, such as the larger transport aircraft and the fighter aircraft, typically cost more than rotorcraft. These elements are anticipated to propel the fixed-wing aircraft segment's growth.

The rotorcraft segment is driven by the increasing utilization of helicopters, the procurement of newer-generation military helicopters, and the upgrade and modernization of older models. This means they need regular maintenance, changes, and inspections, which will drive the demand for military rotorcraft MRO over the next few years.

Regional Analysis

By region, the global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

North America Dominates the Global Market

Military Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Market Regional Analysis

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North America is the highest contributor to the global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 1.95% during the forecast period. North American demand for aircraft MRO services is expected to be supported by rising demand for aircraft operations from the passenger and freight service sectors. In order to combine their strengths, MRO service providers in North America create joint ventures. The presence of countries such as the United States and Canada is expected to drive growth in this region during the forecast period. The United States currently has the world's most significant military aircraft fleet, which supports local market expansion.

Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.42% over the forecast period. The need for more aircraft and expanded aviation services in the area is driven by rapid economic growth, urbanization, new domestic airlines, low-cost labor markets like India and China, and government support for establishing aerospace clusters. The Chinese government is working on upgrading its air force to a top-tier force within the next 30 years by making it more powerful, efficient, and technologically advanced. As new planes are introduced quickly, the need for high-quality MRO services grows to keep the fleet airworthy. Strategic collaboration is quickly becoming the norm in the country because it lets active players combine their skills and serve the military end-users better. In addition, established market players in India are improving their heavy maintenance capabilities and giving customers options to cut down on turnaround time and maintenance costs. Such developments may propel the military aviation MRO market in this region.

Europe is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. In terms of civil aviation regulations and the actions taken by the members of the European Union, Europe is one of the most liberalized continents. The growth of the European aircraft engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) market is likely to be affected by factors like airline fleet reduction and less aircraft use. However, the presence of countries such as the UK, Germany, France, and others is expected to drive market growth in this region during the forecast period. According to NATO, the UK is one of the top nations in the world for defense spending. The UK MoD is investing capital to update its fleet and trying to make its current air assets last longer. Therefore, the UK military aviation MRO market is expected to grow during the forecast period.

In addition, Germany is rapidly acquiring new aerial assets to maintain its aerial combat capabilities. As a result, the German MoD awarded a contract in November 2020 for procuring 38 Eurofighter aircraft for the German Air Force. Thus, the presence of a diverse aerial fleet necessitates MRO services being carried out for the fleet in Germany, which is driving the market during the forecast period in this region.

The Middle East has become a significant player in the aerospace sector. The Middle Eastern aerospace MRO market has moved away from internal services and outside suppliers. Due to nations like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the market in this region is anticipated to expand during the forecast period. The United Arab Emirates wants to improve its defense by buying new planes and making things independently. At the same time, Qatar planned to buy new-generation combat aircraft to protect its national interests. The country is focusing on enhancing its military aviation MRO capabilities.

Competitive Analysis

The global military aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul market’s major key players are The Boeing Company, BAE Systems PLC, Elbit Systems Ltd, Saab AB, Lockheed Martin Corporation, General Atomics, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Amentum Services Inc., Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Rolls-Royce PLC, Safran, and MTU Aero Engines.

Recent Developments

  • December 2022- AAR CORP., a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs, and OEMs announced an extension of its distribution relationship with Leach International Corp.
  • December 2022- Boeing delivered the first of four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to New Zealand today in a ceremony at the Museum of Flight. Four years after the New Zealand government's agreement for the P-8A with the U.S. Navy, a significant milestone has been reached. With the assistance of the P-8 International Program, Boeing Defense Australia will offer fleet maintenance services to New Zealand. The three P-8 aircraft in production will be delivered to New Zealand in 2023.

Global Military Aviation Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Market: Segmentation

By MRO Type

  • Engine MRO
  • Component and Modifications MRO
  • Airframe MRO
  • Field Maintenance

By Aircraft Type

  • Fixed-wing Aircraft
  • Rotorcraft

By Regions

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East and Africa
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