TEAL GROUP ANALYSTS FORECAST A WORLD MARKET FOR 2,737 TURBINE TRAINER AIRCRAFT WORTH $32.3 BILLION OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS, MORE THAN 50% LARGER THAN THE 1,876 AIRCRAFT WORTH $19.9 BILLION DELIVERED IN 2006-2015.
National Harbor, Maryland, Monday, September 19, 2016 — With the U.S. Air Force scheduled to release a final Request for Proposals (RFP) for the T-X Program Trainer Competition sometime this December, Teal Group analysts issued their annual Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft Market Overview at this week’s (Sept. 19-21) Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Technology Expo, where Lockheed Martin with its T-50A Advance Pilot Training Aircraft and others, are vying for this anticipated major trainer program award.
Teal Group analysts forecast a world market for 2,737 turbine trainer aircraft worth $32.3 billion over the next 10 years, more than 50% larger than the 1,876 aircraft worth $19.9 billion delivered in 2006-2015 (all in constant 2016 dollars). The world trainer market is valued at about $3 billion per year, compared with about $20 billion for the world fighter aircraft market. Trainers grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% between 2005 and 2015 (in value of deliveries).
“This is not a large market, but at least it’s starting to grow at a respectable pace,” said Teal Group Vice President-Analysis Richard Aboulafia, also senior aircraft analyst and author of the new Trainer/Light Attack Aircraft Market Overview, one of nine aircraft market sector overviews included in the monthly-updated World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing service.
The U. S. Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer procurement program aims to procure 350 jets to replace the USAF T-38 fleet, plus possibly hundreds more for other customers and applications. It is easily the most important competition in the trainer market.
“Funding T-X is the biggest apparent impossibility,” said Aboulafia. “The Air Force has made its top objectives clear: F-35 A, B-21, and Boeing’s KC-46 tanker are the three highest priorities, presenting huge challenges on their own, even before lower priorities such as T-X or the new Combat Rescue Helicopter are funded.”
“On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to not proceed with T-X,” he said. “Replacing the T-38 would seem to be a very necessary and time-urgent requirement. This fleet is about 50 years old on average, and by the time the winning T-X candidate enters service, another eight years will have passed, at least.”
There are now four likely or definite T-X bidders, and possibly others too. “We assume the T-50 has the best chance,” said Aboulafia, “but with at least three other players, we can’t assume anything.”
“Yet just as the Air Force needs to make the impossible happen with the T-X, the contractors need to ignore the near-impossible odds and aggressively pursue this program,” he said. “There are very few other new aircraft competitions out there.”
Teal Group’s new trainer market sector overview also considers T-X’s importance relative to the broader high end jet trainer market: Over the past 20 years (1996-2015), fewer than 800 Western high end jet trainers have been delivered worldwide, a number divided among six different models. T-X procurement, plus additional requirements and exports, will almost certainly result in 500 aircraft being built over the next 20 years or so.
“In other words,” said Aboulafia, "for any major US airframer and anyone in the world building a trainer in this class, it is impossible to not compete for this requirement."