Global High-Speed Aircraft and Missiles Composite Material Market 2021
The global high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market was valued at $1,632 million in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.47% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2032, reaching $2,083 million by 2032. The growth of this market is expected to be driven by increasing defense spending on hypersonic and supersonic aircraft and missiles.
Composite materials have long been used in aircraft and missile manufacturing, and their application continues to expand. The demand for composite materials is fueled by the need for high-temperature stability, corrosion resistance, fuel efficiency, and overall performance improvement. Carbon fiber, resins, and ceramic matrix composites are in high demand for manufacturing hypersonic and supersonic aircraft and missiles. Hypersonic vehicles offer military benefits such as versatility, rapid response time, survivability, and extended range without the need for refueling. In the commercial aircraft sector, high-speed aircraft provide long-range transportation that is fast, safe, affordable, reliable, and flexible. However, the challenges are compounded with the emergence of supersonic/hypersonic aircraft and missiles, where preserving high strength and structural integrity at temperatures exceeding 350°C is necessary.
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USD 1.6 billion in 2020
End User, Subsystem, Material, Manufacturing Process, Region
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In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards the adoption of composite materials over conventional metals. Moreover, the market has witnessed a trend towards the use of supersonic and hypersonic missiles and aircraft. With increased investment in missile defense spending and orders for supersonic military aircraft, the demand for composite materials has also risen.
Numerous projects are underway to develop advanced composite materials that offer high strength while being lightweight, thereby enhancing the overall performance of aircraft. Engineers in the aircraft manufacturing industry are testing materials for supersonic flight, exploring both innovative and traditional options. Factors such as performance, cost, strength, and weight are considered when selecting composite materials for hypersonic and supersonic aircraft and missiles. Each component of an aircraft is expected to maintain its mechanical properties throughout the aircraft’s lifespan and perform as well after 500 hours of flight as it would after 50 hours.
Carbon fiber laminates are widely used in aircraft and missile support structures. High-modulus, high-thermal conductivity carbon fiber laminates with low moisture absorption resins, typically cyanate ester, are used for manufacturing optical benches and other aircraft structures that require dimensional stability for accuracy.
Investments in hypersonic missile capabilities are driving the missile defense market, leading to increased investments in comparable defensive capabilities. The focus is on large-volume production of interceptor platforms for hypersonic and supersonic segments, creating a demand for enhanced composites in significant quantities.
Commercial aircraft manufacturers are increasing their spending to develop supersonic aircraft that reduce travel time for long-distance flights. This is anticipated to drive significant demand for composite materials.
Drivers for the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market include evolving operational efficiency requirements in aircraft manufacturing and increasing defense spending in the missile defense segment. The challenges for this market include technical challenges associated with hypersonic and supersonic aircraft and missiles, as well as high material costs and the requirement for specialized manufacturing processes. The opportunities lie in the evolution of next-generation carbon fiber composites for advanced aircraft and missile manufacturing and the growing threat perception due to conflicts such as the Ukraine-Russia conflict, which is driving missile defense spending.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including end user, subsystem, material, manufacturing process, and region.
Segmentation by End User
Segmentation by Subsystem
Segmentation by Material
Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)
Segmentation by Manufacturing Process
Automated Fiber Placement
Segmentation by Region
North America – U.S.
Europe – Russia, U.K, and Rest-of-Europe
Asia-Pacific – China, India, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific
The defense sector is expected to dominate the global high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market in the end-user segment. In 2021, the defense end user vertical was valued at $1,568 million and is projected to reach $2,008 million by the end of 2032, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.50% during the forecast period of 2022-2032. This segment includes defense agencies, government bodies, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the military. The adoption of hypersonic technology is gaining prominence in the defense industry as it reduces response times for military operations. Major defense powers are increasingly utilizing hypersonic and supersonic cruise missiles as well as hypersonic glide vehicles, leading to the proliferation of hypersonic weapons programs.
The airframe segment slightly dominates the global high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market based on subsystem. The airframe of a fixed-wing aircraft comprises wings, fuselage, stabilizers, flight control surfaces, and landing gear. Materials such as plastics (reinforced plastic, transparent plastic, composite) and metals (magnesium, steel, aluminum, titanium, and their alloys) are used in the structure of aircraft and missiles. The airframe segment was valued at $1,342 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $1714 million by the end of 2032, with a CAGR of 2.48% during the forecast period of 2022-2032.
In terms of regional contribution, North America accounted for $774.7 million of the global high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market in 2021. By the end of 2032, this region is projected to reach $986.1 million. The market growth in North America is attributed to the presence of the United States, which is actively developing, testing, and manufacturing hypersonic and supersonic aircraft and missiles to enhance its defense capabilities. Key market players such as Hexcel Corporation, Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Kaman Corporation play a significant role in driving the market revenue in the region. The demand for composite materials is being propelled by the presence of major aircraft and missile manufacturers. The United States has been diligently advancing hypersonic weapons technology, particularly through the development of hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles. These weapons have the potential to enable long-range and responsive strikes against defended, time-critical, and distant threats. The growth of the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market is expected to be substantial in the North America region during the forecast period of 2022-2032, fueled by significant initiatives undertaken by hypersonic and supersonic technology developers.
The high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market is characterized by a competitive landscape shaped by various organic and inorganic strategies employed by key players to enhance their market share. These strategies encompass product innovations, contracts, partnerships, acquisitions, and business expansions, among others. Prominent global players in the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market include Applied Composites, ACPT Inc., Boston Materials, Inc., Cecence Ltd., Hexcel Corporation, Materion Corporation, Kaman Corporation, Collins Aerospace, Teijin Limited, SGL Carbon SE, and Solvay S.A. These companies are actively pursuing partnerships, collaborations, agreements, and contracts as part of their efforts to expand operations, establish a global market presence, generate revenues, and attract new customers.
The selection of these profiled companies was based on input from primary industry experts, as well as an analysis of their market coverage, product portfolio, and market penetration.
In 2021, the market was led by established players, representing approximately 60% of the market presence, who specialize in providing composite materials for the manufacturing of high-speed aircraft and missiles. Additionally, emerging market participants, comprising start-up entities, held around 15% of the market presence. The remaining 25% of market presence was held by manufacturers of high-speed aircraft and missiles composite materials, as well as subsystem suppliers.
Key companies profiled in this report include ACPT Inc., General Dynamics Mission Systems, Hexcel Corporation, Kaman Corporation, Solvay S.A., Teijin Limited, Applied Composites Holdings, LLC, Boston Materials, Inc., Cecence Ltd., SGL Carbon SE, Boom Technology, Inc., Brahmos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Recent Industry Developments
During February 2021, Leonardo and Solvay S.A. initiated a collaborative effort to conduct advanced research and development on thermoplastics. The joint establishment of a research lab aimed to innovate and create advanced thermoplastics specifically for large aircraft structures. These groundbreaking materials would not only enhance performance and extend the lifespan of aircraft components but also provide the weight-saving advantages offered by conventional thermoplastics.
In March 2021, Charger Investment Partners, a private equity firm, acquired ACPT Inc. This acquisition was driven by ACPT Inc.’s impressive performance and advancements in composite technologies, making it a valuable asset for the private equity firm. The additional funding resulting from the acquisition will significantly boost ACPT’s composite research endeavors, with a primary focus on the aerospace components market.
Also in March 2021, Composites One formed a partnership with private equity firm Emko Capital to acquire the process materials business from Solvay S.A. This strategic acquisition presents an opportunity for Composites One to expand its international manufacturing and sales capabilities, particularly in specialized materials used in various vacuum-assisted composite manufacturing processes.
In November 2021, Hexcel Corporation collaborated with Fairmat to establish a carbon fiber prepreg composites recycling capability for Hexcel European operations. The aim of this collaboration is to recycle and repurpose carbon fiber prepreg composites, which can then be utilized in the production of composite panels for commercial markets.
Key Questions Answered
What are the emerging trends in the market and how is the market expected to evolve during the forecast period from 2022 to 2032?
What are the main drivers and challenges that companies operating in the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market currently face?
How is the market projected to grow over the forecast period from 2022 to 2032?
What opportunities are available for companies to expand their presence in the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market?
Which region is expected to dominate the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market by 2032?
Which component of hypersonic and supersonic aircraft is anticipated to have the highest market share in the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market by 2032?
Which component of hypersonic and supersonic missiles is expected to lead the high-speed aircraft and missiles composite material market by 2032?
What are the key strategies implemented by leading players in order to thrive in this highly competitive market?
What is the current and future revenue outlook of this market?