The first successful military aircraft was built in the early 19th century by American aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright. With a maximum speed of 42 miles per hour, the manned flyer was significantly different to the jets of today that are capable of reaching maximum speeds of 1,500 miles per hour or more and require no onboard crew. After the invention of the first aircraft, military use of aerospace technologies became attractive for many nations across the globe since the beginning of the 20th century. The genuine interest of army triggered the rapid development of aerospace and aircraft technologies explicitly for military use. Over many centuries, this interest only grew larger as the research and development practices introduced cutting-edge aerospace technologies. Global military spending between 2001 and 2020 increased by roughly 74 percent, reaching just under two trillion U.S. dollars in 2020. Consequently, the size of the military aircraft and aerospace manufacturing market increased steadily until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.
Cross-country analysis of the military aerospace industry
Aircraft manufacturing is one of the heavily regulated industries because of the nature of the activities involved that makes safety for all parties a high standard. High regulations imply many necessary but convoluted standards to meet. Although this process slows down the technological progress in military equipment, it ensures reliable manufacturing of equipment to implement intended commands. Over the recent decade, the investment in military robotics, such as UAVs, grew continuously. This is expected to progress even further since military robots fulfil traditional tasks with no casualty.
Boeing, Airbus, Raytheon Technologies, and Lockheed Martin were the main aerospace and defense manufacturers worldwide in 2021. When we zoom into the details of military aircraft fleet, F-16 and Su-27/30 are the most deployed combat aircraft globally. F-16 aircraft are being produced by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and BAE Systems. On the other hand, Su-27/30 is being produced by Sukhoi, a Russian company with a history dating back to the Soviet Union. All of these firms and conglomerates invest profoundly to create new patents and innovations to sustain the market competitiveness. Yet, the R&D investment of Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin companies fluctuated around the same values throughout the recent decade, indicating a non-increasing or steady level of investment allocation into corporate growth.
This text provides general information. Statista assumes no
liability for the information given being complete or correct.
Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date
data than referenced in the text.
In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 21 most important statistics relating to "Military aircraft manufacturing".