Aviation Week Forecasts: Western Scout Helicopter Deliveries/Retirements 2020-2029
Aviation Week Network forecasts that over the next ten years, 282 new Western-designed military scout helicopters will be built, 25 will be remanufactured, and 503 will be retired. Aviation Week defines scout helicopters as any rotary-wing aircraft tasked with over-land reconnaissance or light attack missions with a max takeoff weight of less than 15,500 lb. and which are not well armed enough to be considered on par with dedicated attack helicopters.
Scout helicopters are seeing their mission role increasingly delegated to UAVs, resulting in shrinking modernization orders or no replacement at all, as evidenced by 56% more retirements than deliveries. As another example, three legacy Airbus helicopters, the Alouette 2, Alouette 3, and the Gazelle, will make up 52.5% of all retirements, but only 20.2% of new-build deliveries between the H160 and H145. The Hughes MD 500/Boeing H-6 is currently prolific in terms of active scout helicopters, but the family will be responsible for nearly half of all scout helicopter retirements (47.5%) this decade. Much of this decline is due to large-scale retirements in Asia, with South Korea alone responsible for approximately 75% of the MD500’s retires. South Korea is looking at the possibility of converting its aged fleet into unmanned systems.
Half of all scout helicopters to be delivered over the forecast remain in open competition or standing requirements. There is ample opportunity for OEMs and companies specializing in conversions with weapon packages to make up market share. However, 68 of these will go the United States’ future attack reconnaissance aircraft, precluding any non-U.S. competitors from gaining market share there. Other requirements in Australia, Austria, Chile, and the UK offer more hope for keeping the international market diverse.
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Source: Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) 2020 Military Fleet & MRO Forecast.
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