The global parachute market size was valued at USD 0.53 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 0.86 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.58% during the forecast period (2022-2030). A parachute is a device for delaying the descent of a person or object through the air that consists of a fabric canopy beneath which the person or object is suspended. The user's terminal velocity can be reduced by as much as 90% with a modern parachutist's design. The main parachute creates air resistance for the skydiver and slows their descent to the ground to around ten mph. When a person is falling, a parachute experiences the same forces (weight, drag, form, etc.), but it behaves more like an airplane wing. An average parachute has a glide ratio of 1:1 and a vertical drop rate of about 17 mph.
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Increasing Interest in Extreme Sports Involving Parachutes
Over time, people's interest in extreme and adventurous activities has gradually increased. It is predicted that the extreme sports category will compete with team sports and other professional sports for the title of the most-watched category in the coming years. Skydiving and parasailing are two extreme sports that have experienced significant technological and performance-related modifications. The use of parachutes for those activities has expanded as a result of the rise in the number of people engaging in these sports. Today, several parachute companies regulate the usage of parachuting-related activities to provide enthusiasts with a safe extreme sport experience. This has further boosted the confidence of various age groups to carry out these activities in a monitored environment. The expansion of travel and tourism has also provided extreme sports activities the required impetus.
Failings of Modern Parachutes
In the military, parachutes are frequently employed during mission landings. Parachutes are growing larger, carrying heavier loads, and moving more quickly as payloads increase. The shortcomings of modern parachutes have been identified in several reports worldwide. Additionally, there have been reports of the T-11 (non-maneuvrable military parachute) failing, as well as the tragic deaths of many people due to parachute malfunction. These reports have ensured that there will always be widespread skepticism regarding the usefulness and safety of parachutes.
Additionally, governments are enforcing ever-stricter restrictions to encourage safe and pleasant skydiving due to the rise in parachute failure accidents. Numerous regrettable occurrences have occurred all over the world as a result of carelessness in the quality inspection of the parachutes after production. However, the National Safety Council asserts that skydiving is safer since modern parachutes are outfitted with a reserve parachute in addition to the primary parachute. Also, many businesses are currently working on inventing newer parachutes to reduce the number of tragic incidents caused by malfunctioning parachutes.
Increasing Employment of Parachutes in the Defense and Military Industries
One of the main drivers propelling the market share is the growing use of parachutes in the defense and military sector for troop transportation, training, and distribution. Additionally, parachutes are used for ballistic purposes in hang gliders, microlights, and light aircraft. The market is also expanding due to the increasing use of drogue chutes in aircraft to offer control and a solid landing on snowy and wet runways. The growing popularity of adventure sports like skydiving, paragliding, paramotoring, and para jumping among people to decompress and increase confidence is fueling demand for parachutes. Uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) also increasingly use parachutes to lessen their kinetic energy during descent and landing. In addition, major players in the market are making significant investments in research and development (R&D) operations to produce improved product versions that will meet the needs of the end consumers. These players also concentrate on mergers and acquisitions to boost their overall sales and profitability.
The global parachute market is segmented by type and application.
Based on type, the global parachute market is bifurcated into round, cruciform, ram-air, and other types.
The round segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.97% during the forecast period. Most applications for round parachutes are in the military, emergency evacuations, and cargo drops. Most military round parachutes have a conical or parabolic shape and can either be steerable or not. However, steerable ram-air parachutes are not as flexible as other models. The air can escape from the back of the canopy through cuts in the steerable type of round parachute, giving it a constrained forward speed. This enables the paratrooper to face the wind and steer the parachute, slowing the horizontal velocity for landing. The US Army has used circular parachute systems for many years, with the T-10 parachute as an example. However, modern sports parachutists seldom use these parachutes anymore because they have been mainly supplanted for usage by military troops. The Special Operations Forces Tactical Assault Parachute System (SOFTAPS) program was used to build the MC-6 steerable troop parachute, which Airborne Systems make. The MC-6 also uses the SF-10A canopy used by US Special Forces operations.
The cruciform parachute was created to lessen oscillation and abrupt turns during descent, increasing parachutes' dependability under challenging circumstances (high speed, high drag, heavyweights) and decreasing user fatalities. The US Army and some companies that organize adventure sports use a relatively recent structure called the cruciform. Under the auspices of the Advanced Tactical Parachute System (ATPS) project, the US army has swapped out its outdated T-10 parachutes for T-11 parachutes. The rate of fall should be reduced by 30% with the ATPS (T-11) system, from 21 feet per second (6.4 m/s) to 15.75 feet per second (4.80 m/s). T-11 parachutes recently had several failures and accidents, which has caused some anxiety. Due to the growth and integration of sports into leisure activities, the demand for cruciform parachutes will primarily come from this industry.
Based on application, the global parachute market is bifurcated into military, cargo, and other applications (civilian, sports, etc.).
The military segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. Throughout the world, armed forces have frequently employed parachutes. They were used extensively for the first time in the dispersion and movement of troops during World War II. The deployment of paratroopers in unexpected assaults is joint. Many nations have one or more paratrooper units, frequently connected to the national Army or Air Force but occasionally the Navy. Among the few nations with Parachute Brigades, Australia, the US, the UK, France, India, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, and Poland frequently participate in military parachuting training in other nations.
For instance, recently, in north-west Poland, the "Marauder-21" training exercises included around 100 Polish soldiers from the 6th Airborne Brigade and roughly 200 American paratroopers from the 319th Artillery Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Recently, the Russian military dropped paratroopers from a height greater than Mount Everest. The service members jumped from the Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft using a brand-new parachute system along with oxygen supplies and navigational aids.
All military forces employ cargo parachutes to convey supplies, ammunition, and vehicles to different drop zones, especially in hostile terrain lacking ground transportation infrastructure or where severe winters make alpine routes unusable. The US military has been researching several cargo parachutes and airdrop technologies for the past few years. The 2K1T ram-air cargo delivery parachute from Airborne Systems is a less expensive, one-time-use parachute. The FireFly system is enhanced by this distinctive military parachute that is only used once. It belongs to the family of guided precision aerial delivery systems known as Airborne Systems (GPADS). As part of the JPADS 2K Program, the US Army chose the Firefly as its preferred system, and it is currently in use in active theaters to supply and equip personnel stationed in remote areas. To accommodate the capabilities of the A400M, Safran has been striving to design an entirely new family of cargo chutes. Additionally, cargo parachutes are utilized to drop food and water on the ground as part of humanitarian missions. Large cargo parachutes are required because the Red Cross, the UN, and other such organizations frequently airdrop food supplies as humanitarian aid with the assistance of military forces.
The global parachute market is bifurcated into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America Dominates the Global Market
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North America is the most significant shareholder in the global parachute market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.04% during the forecast period. In the region, the United States is the country that uses parachutes and other aerial equipment the most. Even two operational airborne divisions, the 82nd and 101st are present in the nation. Additionally, the US Department of Defense's (DoD) disclosures of defense spending makes it evident that the administration is focused on improving its current para-trooping capabilities. Furthermore, the nation plays a significant export and import role in the parachute market worldwide.
American participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is active. It has troops serving in several nations as part of peacekeeping or humanitarian missions. The US Armed Forces participate in several joint operations and training drills to gauge operational preparedness. Although the United States has issued new orders for the full-scale implementation of the T-11 parachute for its armed services, the T-11 system has several drawbacks. Consequently, considerable R&D efforts are required to develop a workable solution. The manufacturing, repair, and inspection of the Canadian Armed Forces' parachutes are carried out by a group of highly trained and specialized soldiers known as riggers employed by the Canadian Army. The country is home to numerous top parachute producers, which makes it easier for the armed services to use parachutes.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7%, generating USD 0.17 billion during the forecast period. Germany is known for its technological prowess, and in the 1940s, the German Army sent out its first airborne regiment. At Stendal-Borstal, the first parachute training facility for the military was established in 1936. Since then, the German Army has frequently utilized airborne troops for various duties, which has been crucial for several tactical conflicts. In addition to the troop, emergency, cargo, and custom-based parachutes, Speakon is one of the nation's top manufacturers of parachutes. Also, the German Air Force announced a four-year lease agreement for two M28 Skytrucks for parachute jump training. All German units were supposed to conduct parachute drops using these leased aircraft.
Parachutes are used more frequently in the United Kingdom for military and commercial purposes. This attracted foreign and local tourists to participate in parachuting and other parachute-required sports like skydiving. Many businesses in the nation, like UK Parachuting, provide people with various parasailing and paragliding experiences. Additionally, the British Parachute Association oversees and provides recreational sporting activities throughout the nation. The need for parachutes is anticipated to increase gradually due to the UK forces' worldwide deployment as part of the peacekeeping role in the Ukraine crisis and their use in dropping personnel, equipment, and other supplies right at the front lines.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to grow significantly during the forecast period. Activities using paratroopers are crucial to the Chinese Armed Forces' engagement policy. The nation has been making significant investments in locally developed paratrooper gear and other technology necessary to improve the paratrooper forces' current capabilities. The Y-20 military transport aircraft was introduced by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and is utilized for airborne command and control operations and parachute drops. It is envisaged that the PLAAF will be able to deploy such aircraft to carry a comparatively higher number of paratroopers during training and combat missions due to the superior payload capacity. Skydiving is becoming more popular commercially, and various tourism-related businesses are expanding their geographic reach. Short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft have been introduced into the Indian defense forces, which has also been a critical reason for the market's expansion. Landing is challenging for pilots because of shorter runways and fighter jets' faster relative speed; mistakes could lead to hard landings and aircraft damage. The Tandem Combat free-fall Parachute Systems, PTA G2, Controlled Aerial Delivery System (CADS), and various other programs are all included in the Indian Paratrooper Parachute Development Program.
Although there is no full-fledged paratrooper force in the United Arab Emirates, there is a Special Mission Unit of the Presidential Guard. The UAE Armed Forces took part in the US-Egyptian Bright Star exercise with 16 other countries. The exercise covered several anti-terrorism operations, training in air, sea, and dive combat techniques, and the use of live fire from various weapons. Companies like MMIST actively engage in the IDEX exhibitions, highlighting significant advancements in the Middle East's military industry. The 1st Parachute Brigade and the 64th Special Forces Brigade are the two brigades specifically assigned to parachute operations in the Saudi Armed Forces. The 4th and 5th Parachute Infantry Battalions make up the 1st Parachute Brigade, and the 85th Special Forces Battalion makes up the 64th Special Forces Brigade. The Saudi military used airdrops to bolster the fortifications of the Yemeni government-aligned forces in the ongoing combat in Yemen. Usually, these containers are filled with weapons like artillery, sniper rifles, and bulletproof clothing.