Strong, Steady Future For Helicopters

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The helicopter market never seems to be as volatile as other sectors of GA and Rolls-Royce's annual forecast for turbine helicopters seems to bear that out. The civilian market has been down a bit, but the military market has been rock steady, and the resurgence in civilian orders will give manufacturers a boost in the next 10 years. Helicopters are a necessity and new ways to use them are being exploited all the time so Ken Roberts, president of Rolls-Royce helicopter engines said in a presentation at Heli-Expo 2010 he's expecting strong demand to continue. Rolls-Royce is predicting worldwide demand for civilian helicopters at 10,300 units through 2019 and 6,100 for the military.

Each sector will bill $38 billion for its portion so there's a combined market of $76 billion to carve up. There will be 26,000 engines required for all those helicopters and they'll be worth $12 billion. Rolls says the surge in demand for civilian helicopters is mostly about fleet replacement as 30-year-old airframes reach the end of their lives.