The global military training aircraft market size was valued at USD 4.96 billion in 2021. It is expected to reach USD 6.4 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.28% during the forecast period (2022–2030). The global military is concentrating on keeping more compact yet capable aircraft fleets. They are motivated to purchase more modern aircraft with cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated cockpits. As a result, there is a necessity for pilot education regarding modern aircraft interfaces. Trainer aircraft are aircraft that are designed to give flying instructions to pilots and personnel. The military trainer aircraft are outfitted with defense-related features. Compared to other military aircraft, the trainer aircraft is equipped with additional safety features, including a more straightforward cockpit layout and tandem flight controls.
A training aircraft's purpose is to allow pilots and aircrew training. Pilots-in-training can safely enhance their real-time flying, navigation, and/or warfighting skills while using a dedicated trainer aircraft equipped with extra safety features, such as tandem flight controls, forgiving flight characteristics, and a simplified cockpit layout. This eliminates the risk of overextending their capabilities in a fully equipped aircraft. The primary market drivers are anticipated to be the acquisition of aircraft of newer generations and the development of trainer aircraft of more recent generations. Significant demand for military training aircraft is also anticipated in the following years due to the growing emphasis that nations like China, India, the United Kingdom, Iran, and others are placing on enhancing their defense capabilities and security measures. Additionally, rising geopolitical tensions between various nations and the spike in demand for trainer aircraft as pilots need to be educated to utilize fighter aircraft properly, are predicted to fuel the expansion of the global market for military training aircraft during the forecast period.
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Procurement of New Generation Aircraft
The acquisition of newer generation aircraft is a growing priority for the world's armies as they prepare to operate a fleet of more compact yet capable aircraft. In this sense, many military aircraft are being purchased to replace outdated airframes. Reduced maintenance and operational expenses from purchasing newer aircraft will also aid the military in achieving cost savings. In 2021, the US Air Force (USAF) requested permission from the US Congress to retire 201 aircraft by the end of the fiscal year 2022. USAF would then use the money saved by not having to operate and maintain those aircraft to fund research and development and purchase next-generation aircraft.
Since pilots receive specialized training for aircraft cockpits, purchasing new aircraft will also increase the demand for advanced-stage pilot training. The acquisition of new aircraft platforms will therefore necessitate modifications to the same aircraft platforms to satisfy the needs for pilot training. For instance, India and France struck a contract in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale combat jets for approximately USD 9.4 billion. By 2022, all of the Rafale jets were supposed to have been delivered. The 36 Rafale jets will consist of 30 fighter jets and 6 trainer jets. The twin-seater training jets have practically all of the fighter jet's attributes. As a result, a sizeable chunk of any new aircraft purchases will go into the purchase of companion training aircraft.
Growing Cost of Development
Developing military trainer aircraft is a complex and lengthy procedure, like creating a real fighter aircraft. Military trainer aircraft sales have been hindered by time and financial commitment. Due to this limitation, OEMs must construct training aircraft using the existing trainer aircraft's framework and modernize them with new technologies. The military forces and current OEMs have effectively found this method to reduce costs. However, it has stopped new OEMs from competingly joining the market.
As military trainer aircraft are explicitly constructed to fit variations of the same aircraft model, military organizations do not choose to invest in them because of their limited utility and the fact that each fighter aircraft is unique. Military groups also choose to provide operational convertible trainer aircraft capable of providing limited military air support. This rule prohibits the widespread marketing of primary trainer aircraft. These issues are putting restrictions on the market for military training aircraft.
Need for Lower Emission Aircraft
In the upcoming years, it's anticipated that the focus on electrifying transportation will gain momentum. Given that its Size, Weight, Power, and Cost (SWaP-C) criteria can be readily satisfied in compact trainer aircraft relative to other military aircraft, trainer aircraft are anticipated to be the first ones in the military aviation industry to adopt the electric propulsion technologies. During the duration of the forecast, the first electric trainer aircraft models are anticipated to be in operation. During the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in 2021, Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, displayed a concept model of an electrically powered primary trainer aircraft. After years of testing hybrid electric prototypes, Diamond Aircraft also declared that it would start building its first entirely electric aircraft.
As the demand for reducing costs increases, it is anticipated that future trainer aircraft will feature systems that cut acquisition and operational costs. Additionally, there is an increasing need for supersonic trainer jets due to the increased emphasis on training fighter pilots in aircraft that operate like fighters. It is anticipated that more people will use these planes in the upcoming years. The introduction of sophisticated simulators is expected to persuade the military to lower the flying hour requirements for trainer aircraft. Furthermore, aircraft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are working with simulator suppliers to build and develop systems that boost pilot competitiveness through virtual training techniques.
The global military training aircraft market is segregated into aircraft type, seat type, application, and region.
By aircraft type, the global military training aircraft market includes Fixed-Wing Aircraft and Helicopters.
The Fixed-Wing Aircraft section will likely hold the largest market share, growing at a CAGR of 2.89% over the forecast period. Fixed-wing aircraft is further sub-segmented into basic jet trainers, intermediate jet trainers, and advanced jet trainers. The segment of advanced jet trainers will be the primary contributor to the market for fixed-wing aircraft. Flying cadets who advance to training for fast jet flying will subsequently increase to advanced trainers, generally capable of high subsonic speeds, high-energy maneuvers, and systems replicating modern weaponry and surveillance. Modern advanced trainers have programmable multi-function screens that may replicate many electronic systems and scenarios.
The Helicopter section will hold the second-largest market share. Globally, there are nearly 20,000 active helicopters and numerous requests for new helicopters. In addition, significant helicopter OEMs have introduced several new helicopter models in recent years, creating a need for new trainer helicopters. In 2020, South Korea launched its third effort to acquire a primary flight training helicopter to fulfill its long-standing TH-X need. The budget for the acquisition is approximately USD 97 million, and about 40 light helicopters will be purchased to train army and navy pilots. These investments in its operations will help the segment to grow over the following years.
By seat type, the global military training aircraft market includes Single and Twin.
The Twin section will hold the largest market share over the forecast period. The segment's expansion is attributable to the rising upgrading of aging military training aircraft. The preference is for twin-seater military training aircraft since the teacher can sit in the back seat and assume control if necessary. In addition, twin-seater military training aircraft are in demand for flight personnel training to decrease the psychological stress of rookie pilots and to conduct long flights over featureless terrain. Therefore, China, Russia, and several other nations are creating a two-seater stealth version of stealth fighter so that the pilot may control his aircraft and the WSO can concentrate on overseeing drones.
By application, the global military training aircraft market includes Armed and Unarmed.
The Armed section will hold the largest market share over the forecast period. Advanced training armed aircraft can transport and deliver hefty military loads and can be employed during low-intensity air battles to reinforce better fighter aircraft. As nations such as China, India, and South Korea emphasize upgrading their defense system, they are investing in expanding their air force fleet. Thus, the upgrading of aerial firepower by the significant defense spenders and the escalating arms race are some factors driving the growth of the global market for military training armed aircraft.
Asia-Pacific Surpasses the Rest of the World
By region, the global military aircraft market is analyzed across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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Asia-Pacific will command the market, expanding at a CAGR of 3.76% over the forecast period. The regional growth is attributable to China and India. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense declared in 2020 that the first graduates of the military flying academy would be licensed for carrier missions. The Chinese Air Force has implemented a new curriculum that pushes pilots to think and act autonomously to eliminate the United States Air Force's edge. These new implementations went into effect at the start of 2021.
According to the Defense Ministry, the Indian Air Force operates around 260 trainer aircraft, including the advanced jet trainers Pilatus PC-7 Mk-II, Kiran MkI/IA, and Hawk Mk-132. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likewise experiencing a pilot shortage since there are currently 3,834 fewer pilots than the authorized 4,239 pilots. India issued an international Request For Information (RFI) for at least 20 basic trainer aircraft leased in 2021 to train the country's air force's new pilots.
North America will likely expand at a CAGR of 2.81%, accounting for USD 2 billion by 2030. The region's growth is primarily attributable to the growing military aircraft market in the United States. The United States boasts the world's largest military aircraft fleet and is the country with the largest defense budget. Due to the size of its aircraft fleet, the United States military also operates the largest fleet of training aircraft. The US Air Force has a fleet of 1,488 active training aircraft, while the US Army, US Marine Corps, and US Navy each have a fleet of 110, 110, and 107 aircraft, respectively.
Following a USD 648.1 million contract, Leonardo deployed the first TH-73A training helicopter to the US Navy in 2021. The number of required aircraft is 130, with deliveries continuing until 2024. In 2020, the United States Department of Defense secured contract options for 36 aircraft with Leonardo. The aging fleet of TH-57B/C Sea Rangers will be replaced with a new training helicopter. The TH-73A is suitable for basic training flights and advanced training as well. With a Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engine, dual safety and hydraulic systems, and modern digital avionics from Genesys Aerospace, the TH-73 can perform every maneuver in the US Navy's training curriculum.