Firefighting Aircraft Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecast (2021 - 2026)

The Firefighting Aircraft Market is Segmented by Aircraft Type (Rotorcraft and Fixed-wing), Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW below 50,000kg, MTOW above 50,000kg), and Geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Middle-East and Africa). The Report Offers Market Size and Forecast by Value (USD million) for the Above-mentioned Segments.

Market Snapshot

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Study Period: 2018 - 2026
Base Year: 2020
Fastest Growing Market: Europe
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: 2.98 %

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Market Overview

The firefighting aircraft market was valued at USD 2,210.79 million in 2020, and the market is projected to register a CAGR of 2.98% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

Wildfires or forest fires cause a great deal of devastation every year in various parts of the world. However, only a few countries are equipped with the required aerial firefighting vehicles to tackle such wildfires. The increasing summer temperatures due to global warming, unattended campfires by humans, and lightning are some reasons for wildfires. There has been an increase in the number of forest fire incidents worldwide in the last decade. Both the duration and the intensity of wildfires witnessed an increase due to various factors, leading to a growth in the usage of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for firefighting.

In response to the growing number of wildfires, countries are procuring water-bombing aircraft because they want to respond to such wildfires quickly and effectively. Moreover, the use of rotorcraft for aerial firefighting increased over the years. The mobility, speed, and delivery capabilities of rotorcraft make them more effective than fixed-wing aircraft during the direct dispersal of fire extinguishing agents to suppress a forest fire. Thus, their usage is now being popularized, and their procurement rates are expected to increase in the coming years. However, as the majority of the firefighting aircraft are modified versions of old aircraft, whose subsystems are generally not at their best, they are prone to malfunctioning in non-friendly environments, with hot air and flames being the foremost challenges for the equipment. Such incidents led to accidents that endangered lives and resulted in the loss of both life and property.

Scope of the Report

Firefighting aircraft are the aircraft that are generally deployed to combat wildfires.

The firefighting aircraft market is segmented based on aircraft type, maximum take-off weight, and geography. By aircraft type, the market has been segmented into rotorcraft and fixed-wing. By maximum take-off weight, the market has been segmented into MTOW below 50,000kg, MTOW above 50,000kg.

The report covers firefighting aircraft, both amphibious and non-amphibious (all types of new and used aircraft converted to water bombers). The report includes both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that are used for firefighting and fire-spotting. The market demand estimate includes the cost of conversion of aircraft for firefighting, firefighting equipment like Bambi bucket system, snorkels and scoopers, MAFFS, aircraft leasing, cost of purchase of dedicated firefighting aircraft, and utility aircraft that may be used as an aerial firefighter. The market demand also takes into consideration the annual cost of maintenance, repair, and overhaul for the aircraft, but excludes operating costs for firefighting (fuel, salaries, retardant/foam, etc.). The report also covers the market sizes and forecasts for the firefighting market across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done based on value (USD million).

Aircraft Type
Maximum Takeoff Weight
MTOW below 50,000 kg
MTOW above 50,000 kg
North America
Latin America
Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Rotorcraft Segment Accounted for the Largest Market Share in 2020

The operational benefits of using rotorcraft for firefighting missions have led to a steady increase in firefighting rotorcraft demand on a global scale. For instance, in December 2020, Leonardo delivered the first HH-139B twin-engine helicopter to the Italian Air Force. It is a customized variant of the AW139 platform, and the first of 17 HH-139Bs ordered, with deliveries expected to be completed by 2021. The HH-139Bs are envisioned to perform various missions, including SAR, firefighting, and Slow Mover Intercept. Similarly, in December 2019, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) placed an order for four AW139s for fire suppression, emergency medical services, and search and rescue. The first helicopter was delivered in October 2020, and the remaining three were scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2020. Moreover, several countries are converting their helicopters into firefighters with the integration of modern internal water tanks. For instance, in March 2018, Simplex Aerospace, a Portland-based designer and manufacturer of aerial application systems, unveiled its new 850-gallon internal fire attack system for the Blackhawk helicopter. The system is available for the S-70i, S-70A, UH-60A, and UH-60L helicopters. Such developments render a positive outlook for the rotorcraft segment during the forecast period.

Firefighting Aircraft_segment

Asia-Pacific to Experience the Highest Growth During the Forecast Period

The prevalent practice of slash-and-burn agriculture, combined with the extreme effects of El Niño and La Niña events, intensified the hazard of forest fires in Asia-Pacific. There have been several instances of forest fires in the region. For instance, in March 2020, a forest fire in the Sichuan district of China resulted in the death of 19 people, including 18 firefighters. In September 2019, an uncontrolled forest fire raged across the provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi in Indonesia that caused massive losses to life and property, estimated to be worth USD 5.2 billion. The several instances of wildfire and the extensive damage caused by it have encouraged regional fire protection authorities to expand their firefighting aircraft fleet. For instance, in June 2019, Viking Air was awarded a contract to supply six new Viking Canadair CL-515 and one upgraded Canadair CL-415EAF amphibious aircraft to Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). While four of the CL-515 twin-turboprop aircraft are to be delivered in first responder multi-mission configuration, the remaining two are optimized for aerial firefighter configuration. Similarly, in January 2020, Korea Forest Service (KFS) purchased an S-64 Air Crane helicopter from Erickson Incorporated, a renowned operator, maintainer, and utility aircraft manufacturer. With the delivery of K9 set for 2020, KFS operational aircraft would be seven S-64 Air Crane helicopters in South Korea. Such developments are envisioned to support the growth of the market in focus in Asia-Pacific during the forecast period.

Firefighting aircraft_geography

Competitive Landscape

The market of firefighting aircraft is highly concentrated, with only a few players in the market. Textron Inc., Leonardo SpA, and Airbus SE (Airbus) are the major players in the market, which together account for more than 30% of the total market share due to their strong order book and deliveries to firefighting agencies in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific and other international firefighting agencies. To increase their footprints in the market, companies are investing in the development of new aircraft models for firefighting with capabilities to carry huge volumes of water and fire retardants. For instance, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) developed a large amphibious aircraft, AG600. The aircraft was mainly developed for supporting forest firefighting and maritime rescue operations. In July 2020, the aircraft completed its sea-based test flight. The company planned to receive the certification of the aircraft in 2021 and deliver the first aircraft to its launch customer in 2022. Similarly, Viking Aircraft developed two new firefighting aircraft models, CL-415EAF (Enhanced Aerial Firefighter) aircraft and CL-515 water bomber aircraft, in the past few years.

Recent Developments

  • In July 2020, China's domestically developed a large amphibious aircraft, AG600, which successfully made its first sea-based test flight, demonstrating its ability to operate in challenging maritime conditions and conduct missions, including far sea cargo transport and maritime emergency rescue. China expects to initiate the deliveries for the AG600 by 2022.
  • In April 2020, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) requested USD 7.7 million to procure three air tankers, a helicopter, and a fixed-wing aircraft to provide aggressive initial attack and supplement the limited number of ground resources during a wildfire outbreak.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Market Drivers

    3. 4.3 Market Restraints

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry


    1. 5.1 Aircraft Type

      1. 5.1.1 Rotorcraft

      2. 5.1.2 Fixed-wing

    2. 5.2 Maximum Takeoff Weight

      1. 5.2.1 MTOW below 50,000 kg

      2. 5.2.2 MTOW above 50,000 kg

    3. 5.3 Geography

      1. 5.3.1 North America

      2. 5.3.2 Europe

      3. 5.3.3 Asia-Pacific

      4. 5.3.4 Latin America

      5. 5.3.5 Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Vendor Market Share

    2. 6.2 Company Profiles

      1. 6.2.1 United Aircraft Corporation (Beriev Aircraft Company, Ilyushin)

      2. 6.2.2 Lockheed Martin Corporation

      3. 6.2.3 Viking Air Ltd

      4. 6.2.4 ShinMaywa Industries Ltd

      5. 6.2.5 MD Helicopters Inc.

      6. 6.2.6 Textron Inc.

      7. 6.2.7 Kaman Corporation

      8. 6.2.8 Airbus SE

      9. 6.2.9 Leonardo SpA


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Fire Fighting Aircraft Market market is studied from 2018 - 2026.

The Fire Fighting Aircraft Market is growing at a CAGR of 2.98% over the next 5 years.

The Fire Fighting Aircraft Market is valued at 2210 Million USD in 2018.

The Fire Fighting Aircraft Market is valued at 2781 Million USD in 2026.

Europe is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

North America holds highest share in 2020.

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Textron Inc., Leonardo S.p.A., Kaman Corporation, ShinMaywa Industries, Ltd. are the major companies operating in Fire Fighting Aircraft Market.

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