The firefighting aircraft market is anticipated to register a CAGR of over 5.2% during the forecast period.

  • There has been an increase in the number of forest fires incidents worldwide, and this has led to the growth in the usage of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for firefighting.
  • The accidents that occur to the firefighting aircraft during operation are expected to pose a challenge to the existing players in the market.
  • The development of unmanned autonomous helicopters for aerial fire support is gaining popularity and is expected to open new market opportunities for the firefighting aircraft market in the coming future.

Key Market Trends

The Rotary-wing Segment to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

Currently, the fixed-wing segment has the highest market share in firefighting aircraft market. Compared to helicopters used for firefighting, fixed-wing aircraft have larger water/retardant carrying capacity. But the rotary-wing segment is expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The mobility, speed, and hovering capabilities of the rotary-wing aircraft over fixed-wing are very effective in support of firefighters on the ground. The applications of helicopters in aerial reconnaissance, like reporting and mapping fires, directing other aerial firefighting assets on fires, delivering equipment to remote areas and providing hoisting, medevac, and better situation monitoring capabilities over the fixed-wing aircraft have become the primary reasons for the increasing adoption of this segment. Several countries are converting their helicopters into firefighters, with the integration of modern internal water tanks. All these are expected to support the growth of this segment during the forecast period.

Europe to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The European region is anticipated to have the highest growth during the forecast period. Many countries in Europe, like the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Finland, and Latvia, among others, have better aerial firefighting capabilities compared to other regions. However, most aircraft are aged and need heavy maintenance. Moreover, the increased number of wildfires in the last couple of years has made the countries think of procuring aerial firefighting amphibious aircraft. Collective procurement of aircraft by a group of countries on a usage basis is expected to be done in the years to come, as it is an economical choice for the countries. These developments may drive the market demand in the region, during the forecast period.

Competitive Landscape

The market of firefighting aircraft is highly consolidated with very few players. Some of the few prominent players in the firefighting aircraft market are Textron Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, United Aircraft Corporation, Leonardo SpA, MD Helicopters Inc., and Viking Air Ltd. The companies are developing new aircraft models for firefighting, with capabilities to carry huge volumes of water and fire retardant. Lockheed Martin unveiled the LM-100J FireHerc, a civil-certified firefighting air-tanker variant of the C-130J Super Hercules in July 2018. Mostly, the firefighting variants are made based on the request or contract received from the firefighting associations or the government bodies. Therefore, the demand is mostly fluctuating, due to which the companies must plan their production accordingly to avoid excess inventory or sudden shortage. This may help the market players to sustain in the market in the long run.

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