There has been some growing concern within the U.S. Congress and Department of Defense (DoD) in recent years about the shrinking U.S. industrial base for solid rocket motors (SRM). During the past two decades, the number of American SRM manufacturers has gone from six companies to two companies—Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, CA and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (formerly Orbital ATK) of Dulles, VA.
Although the AN/APY-8 Lynx was the best of the first generation of production-ready small SARs (Northrop Grumman’s TESAR was the only other major system, and that was removed from service on Predators without a replacement), Teal Group has long believed there has been a chance that Lynx production could have been cancelled or greatly reduced for the USAF Reaper procurement. But the first published Lynx/Reaper contract in a long time – the Air Force’s contract for 72 Block 20A Lynx upgrades in May 2015 – gave us new confidence that Lynx would continue to serve on Reaper. In February 2016, USAF FY17 budget documents indicated there were about 250 Lynx radars procured or planned for Reaper – basically one per Reaper.
Torpedo countermeasures have been a vital but little-heralded component of a surface combatant’s defensive systems, which will only become more important as the US Navy “pivots” to Asia, increasingly exposed to Chinese, North Korean, and other modern, quiet diesel submarines. The Navy will continue to install Cold War-origin AN/SLQ-25A/C NIXIE systems aboard all its new surface combatants until follow-on systems become available. Original US Navy requirements called for a total of 240 SLQ-25A systems, and perhaps 300 systems for all navies had been produced by 2005. Funding began increasing in the May 2009, FY10 budget, and continued to grow.
Teal Group forecasts funding and future business opportunities for the four biggest airborne programs of the next decade, including the US Air Force Compass Call & Compass Call Re-host, to be worth $6.8 billion in our forecast period (including much classified funding), and the US Navy’s fighter AN/ALQ-241(V) IDECM (Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures), to be worth $5.5 billion. Even bigger will be the Navy’s current/next-generation SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) EA-6B Prowler & EA-18G Growler EW (AN/ALQ-99 & -218 & -227) & AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer (NGJ), to be worth a combined $8.4 billion. We have also added a new, speculative Future USAF Classified ECM Aircraft evaluation and funding line – forecast to be related to Compass Call – to be worth $4.3 billion.
Topline output continues at near record levels. Key segments look set for growth through the next three years, at least. There are areas of concern, and not all manufacturers will benefit equally, but overall the industry is in excellent shape.
World industry output in 2017 came to just over $180 billion. Deliveries in 2014-2016 have all been at about this level in constant 2018 dollars (2015 was the all-time record, at $183.5 billion).
Production of the AN/ALQ-135 has ended for US aircraft, but updated systems were in production for South Korea’s F-15Ks through about 2013 (Singapore turned to Israel for its F-15SG’s EW suite). The F-15 has been among the most successful US fighter programs, and the sale to South Korea was hugely important for its future. The F-15K/SG rejuvenated the aircraft, with new systems, weapons, and sensors. Also, both countries have al-ready bought more planes, as a 40 or 12 aircraft force is not a sustainable minimum for the long run.
Teal Group’s Military Electronics Briefing has added new forecasts for the biggest naval EW (electronic warfare) programs of the next ten years, including the multi-prime contractor AN/SLQ-32 & SEWIP (Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program) programs – in several “Blocks”, Raytheon’s SSDS (Ship Self Defense System), and Lockheed Martin’s Nulka and AN/ALQ-248 Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) decoy systems. When including all versions of the SLQ-32 and SEWIP, those programs alone will be worth $6.4 billion in Teal’s forecast. The MEB has also added a new, speculative Future US Air Force RF ECM Pods forecast.
The following is an excerpt from a recently released Teal Group study analyzing regional aerospace industry competitiveness across the U.S. For the full report please click here.
AEROSPACE COMPETITIVE ECONOMICS STUDY
Based on the research conducted for this study, the states of Washington, Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas and Colorado offer the most competitive business environments for the manufacture of aerospace equipment. These states ranked high in a number of the evaluation categories and corresponding metrics.
Washington scored extremely well across all categories and was a top ten finisher in all but one. It ranked first in two categories: Economy and Industry, while finishing second in Labor & Education and Costs. It was ranked number five in Risk to Operations, Research & Innovation and Taxes & Incentives. Infrastructure was the only category where Washington fell outside the top ten.
Ohio had the second highest overall rank, with significant separation between it and the state of Washington. Demonstrating the substantial gap between first and second, Ohio finished in the top ten in only two categories, Labor & Education and Industry. It did finish in the second ten in a number of categories, thereby reinforcing its overall strong showing. These categories included: Economy, Risk to Operations, Infrastructure, Costs, and Taxes & Incentives.