Missile sales set to soar

Total sales for air-to-air missiles (AAM) over the next 10 years will reach $12 billion, according to a recent report from Forecast International.

Total sales for air-to-air missiles (AAM) over the next 10 years will reach $12 billion, according to Forecast International’s ‘The Market for Air-to-Air Missiles.’

Some 50,455 missiles will be produced, the lion’s share by American and European firms.

‘Unlike other defence markets, air-to-air missiles will see a steady increase in value over the next decade,’ said Forecast International missile analyst Larry Dickerson.

‘Raytheon is expected to be the dominant provider of air-to-air missiles with a 27 percent share of the market,’ said Dickerson. ‘But Europe’s missile megacorps – MBDA – is not that far behind,’ he said. MBDA was formed in December 2001 through the combination of Matra BAe Dynamics, EADS Aerospatiale Matra Missiles and Alenia Marconi Systems. MBDA is hoping to win a greater share of the medium-range air-to-air missile market through sales of the Meteor.

‘This joint development program has gotten off to a rocky start, but eventually could provide a formidable challenger to Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM,’ said Dickerson. ‘Still, the late introduction of the Meteor will mean Raytheon will have years to build a secure customer base,’ he added. Over 6,000 AIM-120 AMRAAMs are expected to be produced through 2012, compared with just over 1,000 Meteors.

Raytheon will also provide the market’s dominant short-range air-to-air missile – the AIM-9X Sidewinder. ‘The AIM-9X has entered production and already won its first export orders, more of which are expected to follow in 2003,’ said Dickerson. ‘Although MBDA is offering the ASRAAM and MICA-IR, sales of these missiles are expected to be much lower than those of the AIM-9X,’ he said.

‘To really challenge the market strength of the AIM-9X, Europe will need to develop an all-new short-range air-to-air missile,’ said Dickerson. ‘So far, no such program has been announced, and even if one were launched this year it would not produce an operational missile until 2009 at the absolute earliest,’ he concluded.