Air-to-air refueling is defined as the process of loading aviation fuel from an aircraft to another when they are both in flight mode. The plane that transfers the fuel is referred to as tanker while the aircraft that receives the fuel is known as the receiver. The global air to air refueling market is set to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% from $514.86 million in 2018 to $892.26 million by 2027.
The growth of air to air refueling market can be attributed to several reasons, such as an increase in defense investment of multiple countries, prevalence of multi-functional aircraft tankers, and an uptick in the procurement of combat aircraft. Air to air refueling is critical for military aircraft since extra fuel allows the aircraft to remain airborne for a longer duration. However, the growth of the market can be hindered by high installation costs.
Air to air refueling helps to increase the natural range of all types of military and commercial aircraft. It saves time for planes that have to land to refuel on the ground. In the case of military aircraft, both the tanker and receiver come within a distance of approximately 100 feet of each other. The receiver then approaches the tanker from behind and matches its speed, which is typically around 300 knots. Then the two aircraft use one of the two main refueling techniques like flying boom or probe and drogue to load the aviation fuel.
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Some of the key players profiled in the Air to Air Refueling market include
Airbus, Safran, Rafaut Group, BAE Systems, Jeppesen, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Eaton Corporation, Cobham PLC, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Israel Aerospace Industries, Draken International, United Technologies Corporation (Collins Aerospace), GE Aviation, and Boeing Company.
Air to air refueling can be segmented on the system and component. Based on the system, the probe and drogue technique is perpetually improving as it is the most popular technique used for aerial refueling. The method consists of various parts, including a refueling hose, a hose-end coupling, and a drogue. When segmented based on components, the fuel tanks segment is expected to be the frontrunner in the global air-to-air refueling market during the forecast period 2018-2027. The fuel tank system improves the fueling system’s safety of an aircraft and is located on the fuel tank of the plane. It contains non-flammable gases like nitrogen and operates during the flight when bleed air is supplied. This system is non-functional when the aircraft is on the ground.
The air to air refueling market is expected to be the largest in North America during the forecast period due to a massive and steady growth of military aviation. The rise in military aviation has created an enormous demand for air-to-air refueling. There are several major players, OEMs, and parts manufacturers in the region that are also going to boost growth in the market. Other growth drivers in the region include growing military aircraft upgrades, research, and development of enhanced military aircraft platforms, and the existence of critical system and component manufacturers in the region.
Some of the major players in the global air to air refueling market include Cobham PLC, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Israel Aerospace Industries, Draken International, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Eaton Corporation, United Technologies Corporation (Collins Aerospace), GE Aviation, Airbus, Safran, Rafaut Group, BAE Systems, Jeppesen, and Boeing Company. These companies have different strategies, including partnerships, joint ventures, as well as mergers and acquisitions, to retain and capture more market share.
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